NatureBridge student explores the local creek in Prince William Forest Park


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NatureBridge's environmental science educators lead interactive online sessions designed to introduce students to the key concepts and features of a watershed. Students will explore abiotic and biotic factors, discuss human impacts and perform a virtual habitat investigation. 


Two NatureBridge educators lead each 40-60 minute session 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. NatureBridge educators provide teachers with information to share with students who are unable to attend.

Session 1: Watershed Sense of Place 40-60 minute live session
Students join a NatureBridge Educator on a kayak ride through the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Stops along the way help them to explore what a watershed is, as well as some of the challenges our watersheds face.

Session 2: Investigating Our Watershed 40-60 minute live session
Educators support social-emotional skill building, build on science content, and lead students in a habitat investigation of Quantico Creek at Prince William Forest Park. 

Session 3: Caring for Ourselves and Our Watershed Neighbors 40-60 minute live session
Students explore solutions to clean up their watershed, and create action plans to continue environmental efforts going forward. 



Students will be able to:

  • Recognize the Chesapeake Bay Watershed on a map 
  • Define a watershed
  • Virtually visit points of interest within the watershed via Google Earth 
  • 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 heath of the creek supported with evidence collected in their breakout session and using reasoning from prior knowledge
  • Learn about indicator species, macro invertebrates and how other parts of an ecosystem affect stream health


Next Generation Science Standards:

4-MS-LS2- Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics- Practices- Developing & using models, Analyzing & Interpreting data, Constructing explanations.

MS - LS2 - 4: Explore how changes in abiotic and biotic factors impact ecosystems 5 ETS1-2&3 Engineering Design - Practices- Planning and Carrying out Investigations, Asking questions/ defining problems, constructing explanations.

5-ESS2-1 Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.

5-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.

VA Standards of Learning:

LS.5: Biotic and abiotic factors affect an ecosystem

LS.7: Adaptations support an organism's survival in an ecosystem

Materials needed

Access to a computer, tablet or other online learning compatible device. Journal, pen or pencil, aluminum foil, three washable markers, three sheets of paper, access to water and one permanent marker.

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

We successfully piloted our first season of Distance Learning programs this fall and will resume programming in February 2021. If you would like more information about a Distance Learning program for your class, please fill out the form below and our outreach team will be in touch with you in January to discuss your interest in more detail. 

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