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Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides and Online Environmental Resources for Educators: Ecosystems

Find an array of environmental and science based lesson plans, activities and ideas below from EPA, other federal agencies and external organizations. Encontrar recursos para estudiantes y maestros.

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America's Wetlands 
This resource will give you a better understanding of the rich variety of wetlands, their importance, how they are threatened, and what can be done to conserve them for future generations.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Website

Coral Reef Protection: What are coral reefs?
Explore EPA's resources on coral reef protection to learn why coral reefs are important and what is being done to protect them.
Grades: 6-12
Type of Resource: Website

Ecosystems such as forests and wetlands provide many essential benefits, including clean air and water, food, fiber, and recreational opportunities. The benefits people receive from nature, called "ecosystem goods and services,” are critically important to human health and well-being, but they are often overlooked due to lack of information. EnviroAtlas is a freely available web-based resource that combines an interactive mapping application, analysis tools, and interpretive information on ecosystem goods and services. EnviroAtlas allows users to visually interpret ecosystem services and understand how they can be conserved and enhanced. 
Grades: K-12
Type of Resource: Website

EnviroAtlas: Intro to Ecosystem Services
This suite of six mini-lessons introduces the concept of ecosystem services in a blended learning format. Each lesson can be completed in 30 minutes or less, and combined, use technology, get students outdoors, and engage students in hands-on activities.
Grades: 4-6
Type of Resource: Lesson Plans

EnviroAtlas: Building a Greenway
This interdisciplinary learning module promotes student discovery using available maps and data, engaging students to be collaborative decision-makers. This case study is intended for secondary education, undergraduate, and community education/engagement programs.
Grades: 9-12+
Type of Resource: Lesson Plans

Estuaries: Fundamentals
What is an estuary? Why are estuaries important? Find core information from EPA on estuaries and the National Estuary Program.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Website

Hazardous Waste and Ecosystems
A classroom activity to help students recognize that hazardous waste may have far-reaching impacts on ecosystems and that these impacts are not always easy to identify.  
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Lesson plan

Save Our Species: Endangered Species Coloring Book 
Coloring book about endangered species.
Grades: K-5
Type of Resource: Activity book

Wetlands Education
Everything you need to help your student understand wetlands and how they fit into the water cycle and the environment. A portal site of links to activities, curriculum, education programs, resources and teaching tools to assist you in wetlands and habitat education.
Grades: K-12
Type of Resource: Website, curriculum guides, teaching tools

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Dig In 
Explore a world of possibilities in the garden and on your plate using ten inquiry-based lessons that engage 5th and 6th graders in growing, harvesting, tasting, and learning about fruits and vegetables.
Grades: 5-6
Type of Resource: Lesson plans 

Everglades National Park for Teachers
Are you interested in teaching your students about the Florida Everglades? Check out this site to find activities and background information that will help you tell the story of this fascinating natural ecosystem. Even if you don't live near the Everglades, you will find valuable information that can be applied to many ecosystems throughout the country.
Grades: All

Forests Lesson Plan
A lesson plan from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Grades: K-5
Subtopic: ecosystem
Type of Resource: Lesson Plan

Resources To Learn More About Endangered Species
From the Fish and Wildlife Service, a list of materials that may give you some ideas to help a species near you get on its road to recovery, because recovery is the ultimate goal for each threatened and endangered species.
Grades: All

NASA Educational Resources and NASA Wavelength
Search NASA for teaching materials on: earth science, general science, history, math, physical science, and space science.
Grades: K-12
Type of Resource: Searchable database of teaching materials

National Estuarine Research Reserve System K-12 Educator Resources
Estuaries, where rivers meet the sea, are fascinating ecosystems. Find out about what makes estuaries special, the threats to estuarine ecosystems and explore estuaries around the U.S.
Grades: 9-12

National Wetlands Research Center
This site from the U.S. Geologic Survey explores the many factors that affect wetland health, and provides resources for teachers on preserving our wetlands.
Grades: 9-12

National Park Service Education Resources
Classroom materials, field trip opportunities and professional development programs for educators from the National Park Service.
Grades: All

NOAA Fisheries Education
Educational resources about coasts and ocean life.
Grades: 6-8

Teachers on the Public Lands/ Hands on the Land
Hands on the Land partnerships provide hands-on field experiences, such as citizen science and environmental monitoring projects, that connect the next generation to our forests, parks, waterways, and wildlife refuges.
Grades: All
Type of Resource: Website

The USDA Farm to School Planning Toolkit
The kit is designed for use by schools, school districts, and community partners and filled with tips and examples, insights from others, and lists of resources for further research. It guides you through questions to consider and helpful resources to reference when starting or growing a farm to school program
Grades: All
Type of Resource: Planning Toolkit

U.S. Forest Service Education Toolbox
The Educator Toolbox from the U.S. Forest Service is jam-packed with helpful resources to make your challenging job just a little easier. Here you will find background resources to help you understand forests and grasslands, professional development opportunities and resources, and a collection of great materials and programs organized by grade-level.
Grades: K-12
Type of Resource: Toolkit

Where Rivers Meet the Sea
This game depicts the ecosystem of an estuary on the west coast of the United States. To succeed, players must learn about the factors that produce healthy estuaries, food webs, and why estuaries are essential to both ocean life and to humans. Find related curriculum, tutorials, and classroom resources.
Grades: 9-12
Type of Resource: Online Game

Wildlife Fact Sheets
From the Fish and Wildlife Service, basic information about species of regular public interest. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the factsheets.
Grades: 9-12

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