High School classroom has
eleven basic elements:
age-appropriate activities that include a learning phase, where
information is read, and a testing phase, where the knowledge is
either tested in a quiz or matching exercise, used to fill in a form,
or put to use to solve a problem.
Also on the blackboard, a list
of relevant vocabulary - with
definitions just a click away.
A bookcase, with
a section that provides useful background information on each of the
Middle School activities.
A computer gateway to
many of the environmental organizations and agencies that serve the
greater Potomac region.
A window to
some of our favorite Potomac Highlands images.
An "open book" with
a reading selection that will change periodically.
A magnifying glass that
takes a closer look at some of the Potomac Highlands smaller
- A blackboard -
A “BMI” poster, that leads to the benthic macroinvertebrate activity page.
A “Bay Buoy”, that leads to a page with links to real-time data for stream flow, precipitation, and the Chesapeake Bay buoys.
Blueprints and a pick that lead to hands-on projects done by classes that use the eSchool.
High School telephone is the entry point to Environmental Forums
where students and teachers explore regionally important environmental
issues in depth. Students work both as a class and with other students
across the internet to understand problems and to seek solutions that are
broadly acceptable to their communities.
The High School curriculum
includes modules introducing the watershed, pollution issues, and
planning. The watershed curriculum introduces
students to the parts of a watershed - things like vegetation, bedrock,
and aquifers. It then teaches how the different parts of a watershed
interact. The watershed pollution curriculum teaches how good land
management practices can reduce pollution in our rivers and
streams. The Planning curriculum
explores issues related to growth and development.
lessons provide background on the reasons for and the process of stream
sampling. Real-Time Data
lessons teach students to
monitor real-time data for precipitation, stream flow, Chesapeake Bay
conditions, and help students understand how activities in local watersheds
effect the Chesapeake Bay as a whole.
allow high school students and teachers, as a class and with other students across
the internet, to explore regionally important environmental issues in
Watch the video at right
to take a tour of the eSchool. Note: this video does not have a preloader;
it may take a minute or two to load while the screen is blank.
Institute’s eForums and other eSchool activities
can be used as components of Project Based Learning, where
students seek a solution to a complex problem through a collaborative
process over an extended period of time. When coupled with hands-on conservation or research
projects, they can provide a full Meaningful Watershed Education Experience (MWEE).
Learn more about Project Based Learning and MWEEs.
PHWS classes to look into local issues, identify a problem that would be
improved by hands-on efforts, and to then develop and implement a plan
to address the issue. We have, or can usually find, technical and
financial resources to support such activities in the Chesapeake Bay
projects page to see
what classes that use our eSchool have done out in the real world.
Why worry about watersheds?
part, because watersheds are where we live – most obviously in
mountainous terrain like West Virginia’s Potomac Highlands. Perhaps
more importantly, the watershed – rather than political boundaries -
has become the organizing concept underlying environmental assessment
and protection efforts at both the local, state and regional levels.
This is a logical approach, as most of us "live downstream"
from somebody else, and that somebody we are downstream from lives in
our watershed. For example, the Chesapeake Bay is "downstream"
from West Virginia, and efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay from
pollution focus on pollution delivered through watersheds (like the
increasingly seek to solve problems by working with inclusive citizen's
groups known as watershed associations; as the name implies, watershed
associations consist of people living within a watershed who have a
shared interest in a clean environment.
This has created
a new and very positive way for citizens to work with and impact
Potomac Watershed Puzzle II. This activity
explore the geography of watersheds, a dominant feature of West
Virginia's mountainous landscape. It is probably a bit elementary
for high school students, but it does introduce a number of concepts
they may not have yet learned.
- the user builds a watershed by matching the parts of the watershed
with their functions.
Cycle. This activity, which is on the
Region of Waterloo website (in California),
has a very nice
water cycle animation that introduces the way water moves through a
Web Scavenger Hunts
- the user visits websites from around the region to find answers to
questions about West Virginia's Potomac Highlands and issues related to
planning and pollution.
Since these activities are
interrelated, a single lesson plan is offered
here. This lesson
plan may also be downloaded as a PDF file
Complete question and answer
sheets for each activity are available to teachers on
request. Please email us here
and request this information. It would be best if your return email
address is identifiable as belonging to a school employee. Otherwise,
you will be contacted by Cacapon Institute staff to ensure that you are
a teacher, and not a student, prior to receiving the requested material.
the relationship between people's actions and their impacts on the
environment. In Stream Cleaner,
a stream is polluted with excess nutrients (fertilizer) and sediment (dirt).
The user has access to a "tool kit" with five Best Management Practices
they can use to reduce pollution. Each tool has a cost associated with
its use, and the student has $10,000 to spend to clean up the water.
agencies and community members in WV's Potomac region are working on the same issues raised by Stream Cleaner
with the ambitious goal of cleaning up our WV rivers and
the Chesapeake Bay. The Pollution section of the Middle School
bookshelf provides information about this West Virginia Potomac Tributary
Strategy Process - which is attempting to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution while minimizing economic and social burdens on our community.
The bookshelf also provides a number of relevant links. Because it
can be used to lead into discussions about pollution science, land
management decisions, economic decisions, community decision making and
citizenship, and the role of government, Stream Cleaner would be
appropriate for general science, biology, environmental science, social
science, and vocational-agriculture courses.
Stream Cleaner and pollution studies lesson plan is available
and may also be downloaded as a PDF file
The Potomac region of West Virginia
is now facing explosive development due to the influx of residents from
the Washington, DC metro area, developing transportation infrastructure,
and the desire of regional urban residents to have a second home in the
country. Growth is coming rapidly, and each county is trying to find
the right solution for its residents - but there are probably as many
perspectives on what is "right" as there are people thinking about it.
This range of opinions leaves local officials with many difficult
decisions regarding the future of their county. This module has been
designed to introduce high school students to the complex issues local
officials face when trying to enhance the economic viability of their
county while protecting quality of life.
places students in the role of a newly elected county planner in a
typical West Virginia county who is trying to direct the county's
economy on a sustainable path, while respecting the desires of residents
to preserve the natural beauty and rural lifestyle of the county. The
planning lesson plan is here.
Have you ever found yourself out by
the river with a bunch of students, trying desperately to get them to focus
on stream sampling – and all they want to do is play in the water and
hunt for crayfish?
Use the Benthic
Macroinvertebrate activities in the classroom before your field trip to
introduce key concepts and the cast of characters they might see in the
stream. That will help them focus on the lesson when they are in the
field -- and they might find themselves competing in a diversity
treasure hunt to find stoneflies, water pennies, and mayflies instead of
just crayfish. Use the BMI material when you get back to the classroom
to reinforce their learning. The BMI/Stream Sampling lesson plan
for high school students is in
development. However, the Middle School BMI/Stream Sampling lesson
plan may prove suitable for high school as well, is currently available
also available for
download as a PDF file.
The Real Time Data Portal can
be used to explore scientific concepts of graphing, data collection and
drawing conclusions or as a resource for significant further studies.
Students can monitor real-time data for precipitation, stream flow,
Chesapeake Bay conditions, and many river related conditions in numerous
locations throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Using this lesson, a
localized study help students understand how activities in local
watersheds effect the Chesapeake Bay as a whole.
explore relationships and
correlations in nature by collecting and evaluating data;
be able to explain how sedimentation
and other pollutants impact life in a stream;
explore how graphs work and better
understand graphing principles and techniques;
explore using technology and several
online data collection techniques; understand how local events can
affect the Chesapeake Bay as a whole;
understand how to become stewards of
their watershed and why it is important. The Real-Time Data lesson
plan is here
available in PDF format (500 KB).
The Environmental Forum (eForum)
module provides a unique setting for in-depth, moderated explorations of both the
science and societal challenges posed by regionally important
environmental problems. Students work both as a class and with other
students across the internet to understand problems and to seek
solutions that are broadly acceptable to their communities. Because eForums include research on environmental science, land management
decisions, economic decisions, community decision making and
citizenship, and the role of government, and include the use of
persuasive writing and debate based on that research, they are
appropriate for courses in general science, biology, environmental
science, social science, vocational-agriculture, and language arts
courses. This is a High School activity because of the critical
thinking skills required. Lesson plan is
includes worksheets for the Stream Cleaner Environmental Forum.
The Potomac Highlands Watershed School’s Environmental Forums are an
example of Project Based Learning, where students seek a solution to a
complex problem through a collaborative process over an extended period
of time. When the eForum is coupled with hands-on conservation or
research projects it provides a Meaningful Watershed Education
Experience (MWEE), an expansive form of project based learning that is a
curriculum requirement in MD, VA, PA, and D.C. To learn more about
PBLs and MWEEs, click here.