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Remote Ready Biology Learning Activities

Remote Ready Biology Learning Activities has 50 remote-ready activities, which work for either your classroom or remote teaching.

Science and a Sense of Place:
Watershed Education
for K-12 Students

Catherine Riihimaki is a post-doc and Kaitlin Friedman '07 is an undergraduate in the Geology Department at Bryn Mawr College. They developed hands on environmental studies activities for grades K-12 for a summer institute for teachers. Serendip is pleased to make these activities available to a wider audience.

Watershed Resources

Resources used in these exercises

Free online data of water discharge for streams throughout the US; USGS:

Order topographic maps; USGS (~$6 per map):

Free digital images of PA topographic maps:


Create Your Own Maps

The software used to create the maps in these activities is available for purchase at:
The advantage of this software is that the maps are automatically pasted together, so you don't have to worry about watersheds that are across multiple maps.  The disadvantage, of course, is that it is not free.

Free GIS software includes ArcExplorer and ArcExplorer Web.  These programs allow the teachers and students to create their own maps using freely available data.  Layers of data that can be displayed include political boundaries of states, locations of streams, elevation, roads and highways, population densities, voting results, etc.


Other Web Resources

1. EPA Surf Your Watershed

An abundance of educational resources for teachers and students: (Water Sourcebook series—324 activities for a range of grade levels. All of these are available online)

2. Project WET (Water Education for Teachers)

This foundation sells teacher-training materials and conducts workshops for watershed education.:

3. United States Geologic Survey (USGS) Water Science for Schools page

Includes fact sheets, activities, and plenty of other good resources:

4. A Child’s Place in the Environment (ACPE)

K-6 curriculum units correlated to California’s Language Arts and Science standards. Unit 4 addresses aquatic systems.

5. Educating Young People About Water

A comprehensive database of over 100 curriculum resources and activity guides for water education. Some are no longer in print. Many are available at low or no cost.

6. Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN)

This organization provides a central location for watershed monitoring groups from around the globe to share their data. Their section on data collection protocols is very useful.


Print Resources

Muhlenberg College. Aquatic Ecology: An Environmental Study Unit for 5 th – 8 th Graders. (Contact Environmental Education Outreach at MC for a copy)

Springer, Mark. Watershed: A Successful Voyage into Integrative Learning. National Middle School Association: Westerville, OH, 1994.

Springer, Mark. The Watershed Whole-Learning Activities Book. National Middle School Association: Westerville, OH, 1998.

Stone, Michael K. and Zenobia Barlow, Eds. Ecological Literacy: Educating our Children for a Sustainable World. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 2003


Organizations Local to Pennsylvania and New Jersey

1. Delaware River Basin Commission Ed. Web

Educational resources about our watershed, the Delaware River Basin, and about water quality issues in general. It includes field trip suggestions, maps, data sets, links, and upcoming opportunities. This site is a great jumping off point! (find a group in your neighborhood to assist you in conducting water quality investigations)

2. Fairmount Waterworks

School field trip programs and other resources:

3. Stroud Water Research Center

Field trip programs, teacher training workshops, and online and print materials:


If you have any comments or would like additional information, please contact Catherine Riihimaki at

© 2006 by Dr. Catherine Riihimaki, Kaitlin Friedman '08 and the Bryn Mawr College Geology Department. Teachers are encouraged to copy and modify these labs for use in their teaching.

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