Students hiking through Prince William Forest Park on a NatureBridge school program

Sense of Place: Prince William Forest

Age icon Created with Sketch.

NatureBridge's environmental science educators lead interactive online sessions designed to the key concepts and features of a watershed. Students will complete the program knowing what a watershed is and why it is important to keep it healthy.

Program Format #

Two educators lead each 40 to 60-minute session as presenter and host using a video conference platform such as Zoom. Attending teachers participate as chaperones who observe and assist students as needed. Interactive technology tools may include Prezi, Jamboards, Google Earth, breakout sessions and participant polls.

Session 1: Community Building and Intro to Prince William Forest Park 40 to 60-minute live session
Students will meet NatureBridge educators and work as a group to establish community norms and guidelines. Students will engage in team-building activities that help to create a fun and safe learning space to share and interact for future lessons. Students will be introduced to Prince William Forest's geography, ecosystems and human history. They will also participate in a land acknowledgement of the traditional tribes of this park and students' home communities. Students will explore what a watershed is, as well as some of the challenges our watersheds face.

Session 2: Investigating Our Watershed 40 to 60-minute live session
Students will determine if Quantico Creek in Prince William Forest is healthy or unhealthy by conducting a habitat investigation. They will learn about macroinvertebrates and how they are bio-indicators of an ecosystem. 

Session 3: Designing Sustainable Cities 40 to 60-minute live session
Students will explore solutions to clean up their watershed and create models of sustainable cities that incorporate elements to protect our watershed health and combat climate change.

Outcomes #

Students will be able to: 

  • Locate Prince William Forest Park on a map.
  • Recognize the Chesapeak Bay Watershed on a map.
  • Define a watershed.
  • Make connections to the watershed in their home communities.
  • Connect with NatureBridge educators and classmates.
  • Work in small teams to conduct a virtual water quality test of Quantico Creek.
  • Make claims about the health of the creek supported by evidence collected in their breakout session and using reasoning from prior knowledge.
  • Learn about indicator species, macroinvertebrates and how other parts of an ecosystem affect stream health.
  • Design sustainable communities.

State and National Standards #

Virginia Standards of Learning

  • LS.9: The student will investigate and understand that relationships exist between ecosystem dynamics and human activity. 
  • LS.1: The student will demonstrate an understanding of scientific and engineering practices by asking questions and defining problems, b) planning and carrying out investigations, c) interpreting, analyzing and d) evaluating data, constructing and critiquing conclusions and explanations, e) obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.

NGSS Standards

  • Disciplinary Core Ideas: LS2 Ecosystems, LS2. A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems ESS3.C: Human impacts on Earth systems, ETS1: Engineering Design, ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions
  • Practices: Developing and using models, Asking questions/ defining problems, Planning and carrying out investigations, Constructing explanations and designing solutions, Analyzing and interpreting data, Engaging in argument from evidence, Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.
  • Crosscutting Concepts: Systems and System Models; Patterns; Cause and Effect, Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World.

Materials Needed #

Access to a computer, tablet or other online learning compatible device. Building materials from inside the classroom to create a model of their own watershed, paper/pencils.

Adult Expectations #

At least one teacher will be present throughout each live online session. Other adults may attend by invitation from the teacher or group coordinator. All attending adults must complete NatureBridge’s Participant Registration Form in advance of the session. 

It is the responsibility of attending adults to support student learning and safety during large group instruction and small breakout sessions by following the expectations listed below. 

  • Support students in staying on task. 
  • Address discipline concerns, while allowing students to be engaged and answer questions on their own. 
  • Demonstrate a positive attitude and model inclusive behavior.
  • Communicate with the group’s NatureBridge educator about the educational plan and offer constructive feedback when appropriate.

Schedule this Program #

* indicates required