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3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Chemistry, Biology

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Regional Focus




Elementary Education Watershed Field Trip

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  • This packet offers a detailed plan for a water quality investigation of a local watershed. 
  • Students will learn how to collect and record information about the water's temperature, pH, phosphates, nitrates, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. 
Teaching Tips


  • This guide includes background information for students, a field trip plan, recommendations for water tests, instructions for running the tests, and data collection sheets.
  • Students will learn how the health of the watershed corresponds with the overall health of the ecosystem.
  • The packet includes a glossary.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This packet works with the GREEN Standard Water Monitoring Kit, which can be purchased online.
  • Teachers can purchase the materials and tests for the investigation from other retailers. Aquarium stores are good places to find materials for water testing (dissolved oxygen, pH, etc.).
  • Teachers should explain the safety procedures to students before going into the field to gather samples. 
  • Students should cover exposed skin while they collect samples and run the tests.
  • This version of the water monitoring activity is designed specifically for elementary-age students, but it can be used with students in middle and high school as well. Older students can also use this version of the activity.


  • Teachers could bring water samples into the classroom for students to observe.
  • Social studies classes could find out if local laws prevent the use of certain chemicals or fertilizers and then determine if the substances appear in the water samples.
  • Other resources on this topic include this Hot Mess video on the water cycle and pollution and this interactive resource on urban water supplies.
Scientist Notes
This resource provides all the materials to carry out a field trip. This resource is recommended for educators to guide them on embarking on a fascinating field trip.
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      • 5-ESS2-2 Describe and graph the amounts and percentages of water and fresh water in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth.
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      • 4-ESS3-2 Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural Earth processes on humans.
      • 5-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • 5-LS2-1 Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
      • MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
    • PS1: Matter and Its Interactions
      • 5-PS1-3 Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties.
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