Surface Water Management Division
Water Lessons for Snohomish County Students
Teachers, want to schedule a lesson for your class? It's easy!
STEP #1. Pick the lesson you want for your students. All available lessons are listed below.
- In order to make the most out of our travel time, we encourage teachers of
the same grade at a school to coordinate your requests
- Due to high demand, there's a limit of two lessons per classroom per school
STEP #2. Once you've decided which fish or water lesson you want for your students, visit our online registration form:
CLICK HERE to schedule a lesson for the 2012-13 school year
Problems using the online registration form? The online registration form is the best way for teachers to request a lesson. However, a few schools are unable to access our online request form. If your school is one of these few, download the registration form, answer the questions and paste the info into an email -or- attach the completed questionnaire to an email. Send your email to BOTH Roger and Suzi: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions contact Suzi Wong Swint.
Aquatic AdaptationsGrades: 1-5
Students will explore how adaptations help animals survive in their particular environments. At the end of the lesson, students will create their own animal, giving it the adaptations it needs to survive in an aquatic environment.
Students go outside to the most natural area on the school grounds and practice their observation skills using their sense of sight, hearing, touch, and smell (no tasting in this activity). Next, students will take an “ABC” inventory of the ecosystem identifying Abiotic parts, Biotic parts, and Cultural parts. Continuing to think about the site as a system, students will think about how some of the “A”, “B”, and “C” parts work together. Finally, students think about what might happen if a certain part is removed from the system.
Four Rain DropsGrades: 4-8
Students role-play raindrops to model the movement of water in a forested area compared to a suburban watershed. In each trial, students note the total number of raindrops (students) falling from the sky, the number of drops that reach the creek and the length of time their trip takes. Students use the data to graph their results. The role-playing activity and their graph, will show that there is much more surface runoff in suburban areas. Students will learn that in real life, this change sometimes causes flooding of streets and houses. Students will work in small groups to design different solutions to prevent street flooding and damage to homes.
Hooks and LaddersGrades: 3-8
This lesson requires a gym area or outdoor covered space. Student will play a running game to simulate the salmon lifecycle. Students will 1) recognize that salmon migrate as part of their lifecycle; 2) identify stages of the lifecycle; and 3) describe limiting factors affecting our salmon populations.
Incredible JourneyGrades: 1-5
Students identify twelve places where water is commonly found (ocean, clouds, rivers, glaciers, etc.). Students then pretend they are a water molecule and with the roll of the dice, students move to different locations in the watershed. As they move from station to station, they will create a map to record their journey through the water cycle. Changes in state from liquid to solid to vapor can be labeled on the map. Students use the map they have created to write a story about their unique trip. (This is a modified Project WET activity.)
Let's Get to the Root of the Testable QuestionGrades: 4-8
Part 1: 90 minutes (Part 1 must be scheduled between Oct 1 & Dec 31)
Part 2: 60 minutes (Part 2 must be scheduled after May 1)
This two-part activity takes students through a guided experiment using the scientific method as they answer the question “How does rooting hormone affect the plants ability to grow roots”. Students will identify the changed variable, measured variable, controlled variables, make a prediction, list their procedures and materials, and create a table for their data. In the spring (after May 1st), they will collect and graph their data, and develop a conclusion.
MacroMania & Stream Water QualityGrades: 4-12
4th or 5th grade: 75 minutes
6th grade & higher: 60 minutes
Students use a simple dichotomous key to identify live stream “bugs” or benthic macroinvertebrates. After keying out the collection the class will divide the organisms into three groups base on the organism’s ability to tolerate pollution. Once the pollution tolerances are determined students will use a biological diversity formula to learn the overall health of the creek and watershed where the stream bugs were collected.
Meet Your Native Plant NeighborsGrades: 4-8
Students will use modified number lines to compare local temperatures and precipitation to records from other regions on earth and learn how climate affects the type of plants that grow naturally in different regions. Students will consider how imported plants might adapted (or not) to a new climate. While role-playing a restoration ecologist, students will work with a colorful field guide containing 30 common native plants of western Washington and based on the description of the site (or wishes of their client) and the characteristics of each native plant, students will choose appropriate plants for several restoration sites. If students are involved with an actual restoration site, they will create a list of trees and shrubs that should thrive at their restoration site.
Salmon of Puget SoundGrades: 4-12
In this activity students are introduced to the five native species of Pacific salmon and fill in tables to see how the species are similar and different. Next, they’ll use colored pens to display the same data on a simple watershed map. The tabular and spatial views show students that adult salmon spawn in different parts of the watershed at different times. Students will compare the health of each species to the condition of the habitat where the young salmon spend their first year of life. Students should conclude that the health of each species is directly related to health of that first-year habitat (stream habitat has changed dramatically in the past 200 years; ocean have been altered, but not as much). Finally, students will explore this paradox: if Puget Sound Chinook are threatened with extinction, why are they still legally sold in local grocery stores? (Chinook sold in local grocery stores 1) come from distant regions, or 2) were reared in a hatchery, or 3) were raised in a fish farm.)
Sorting It OutGrades: 4-12
4th or 5th grade: 90 minutes
6th grade & higher: 60 minutes
Students will use an existing dichotomous key to sort and identify stream bugs (macroinvertebrates) by their physical characteristics. After learning how to use a key students will create their own key for ten common native plants. (This lesson was developed by the Stilly-Snohomish Fisheries Enhancement Task Force).
There is No Point to this PollutionGrades: 5-12
5th grade: 90 minutes
6th grade & higher: 60 minutes
Students learn about non-point source pollution through investigating a hypothetical water quality problem within the context of Snohomish County watersheds. Students learn what water quality parameter are important to measure and how pollutants (e.g. soap, oil, pesticides) can spread downstream to freshwater and marine environments. (This lesson has been adapted from Healthy Waters, Healthy People).
Prerequisite: Students must have received the “Watersheds of Snohomish County” lesson (or similar) where students are able to define a watershed and have geographic knowledge of Snohomish County watersheds.
Watersheds of Snohomish CountyGrades: 4-12
Using a piece of paper, students build a 3-D model of a watershed, identify the ridgetops and valleys, and then predict where water would flow. Students then use poster-sized maps to take a virtual trip to the major watersheds of the county. At the end of the virtual trip, they’ll find their school and the nearest creek or river. Students will make connections between the Native American tribes and names of local rivers. Students will examine clues in river flow patterns & landforms to discover why the Stillaguamish River changed its course 12,500 years ago.
FIELD ACTIVITIES:Grades: 4-12
Water Quality Monitoring with Test Kits
90+ minutes (plus travel time)
1. Teachers must provide transportation to and from the monitoring site.
(If you need help funding your field trip check out Snohomish County's "Wheels To Water" transportation funds.)
2. Students will spend 90+ minutes monitoring (a 10-minute intro plus four 20-minute stations) once they arrive at the stream. Be sure to ADD travel time to and from the monitoring site when ordering your bus and planning the total time required for your field trip.
Activity Description: In this field activity students use test kits to measure dissolved oxygen, water temperature, turbidity, and pH. They compare their results to the state standard (which are based on the needs of the native salmon and trout). Students will learn how different human activities can lead to pollution and will explore Best Management Practices to prevent pollution.
Additional resources for educators:
Need clock hours or want to learn more about creeks and fish?
Snohomish County Surface Water hosts/co-hosts several teacher workshops each year.
Visit our Calendar to see what's coming up.
Teachers who have attended a SWM workshop and teach at a school located in Snohomish County are eligibel for our Wheels To Water transportation grant.
Download the Wheels To Water application form.
If you are planning a fish or water-themed field trip,
here are a few Tips for planning a successful field trip.
In the Spring, trips to the beach are popular.
Here are handy beach etiquette tips for your students and good low tide dates for Spring 2013.