NatureBridge student explores the local creek in Prince William Forest Park
Prince William Forest


Location icon Created with Sketch.
Prince William Forest
Age icon Created with Sketch.

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 watersheds, discuss human impacts and perform a virtual habitat investigation. Students will end the program not only knowing what a watershed is, but also why it is important to keep it healthy.

Program Format

Two NatureBridge educators lead each 40- to 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.

Session 1: Watershed Sense of Place 40- to 60-minute live session
Students join a NatureBridge Educator on a virtual 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- to 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: Designing Sustainable Cities 40- to 60-minute live session
Students 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.


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 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.

National and State Standards

Next Generation Science 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

VA 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

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, one permanent marker, tray, tape

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