Middle School Curriculum Overview

Here’s an overview of the key questions and vocabulary students will tackle in the Middle School lessons. Search by keyword to find the perfect lesson for your class!

Lesson NameKey QuestionsKey Vocab
Week 1: Water, Its Uses and Importance
1: Water ConnectionsHow are connections important to learning and understanding?
How do bodies of water connect?
What is the connection between surface water and ground water?
drinking water, erosion, ground water, hydrologic cycle, lake, surface water, tributary, water quality
2: Water ExpressionsHow can people identify with water through written expressions or poetic quotes?
What water words are associated with quotes and what emotions are evoked?
conservation, ecosystem, pollution, quotations, watershed
3: Water ValuesHow much water is available for human consumption?
How much is used during the day?
Are there ways that water can be conserved?
conservation, consumption, finite
4: Water PowerWhat are the positive and negative impacts of dams on a community?
What are names and locations of dams in Farmington River Watershed?
Why are dams built?
dam, generator, hydroelectric power, impoundment, turbine
5: Water UndergroundHow do surface water and ground water interact?
What happens if a pollutant enters the surface water?
From where does drinking water come?
aquifer, impermeable, permeable, percolate, run-off
Week 2: The Farmington River Watershed
6: Water WaysWhere does the Farmington River flow?
Where does the Farmington meet the Connecticut River?
border, confluence, map, topography, tributary
7: Water LinesHow is a river formed?
How do hills direct the flow of water?
dam, flow, man-made, model, ridge lines, topography
8: Water AbsorptionWhat is the difference between a pervious and an impervious surface?
How does the type of surface in a watershed impact water quality?
buffer zones, impervious, infiltration, orient, pervious, run-off
9: Riparian BanksWhat do the riparian banks indicate about overall health of the river?
What causes riparian banks to change?
What is the impact of the change(s)?
riparian areas
10: Carrying CapacitiesWhat is a reservoir and how is it used?
What is the name of the largest reservoir in the Farmington River Watershed?
What are carrying capacities?
carrying capacity
Week 3: Watershed Ecosystems
11: Diversity WalkWhy is diversity important to an ecosystem?biodiversity, preservation
12: Water WebsWhat is a food web and a food chain?
How are animals and plants interconnected in an ecosystem?
How can natural or man-made impacts affect the balance of an ecosystem?
decomposer, food chain, food web, primary consumer, producer, secondary consumer, tertiary consumer, trophic levels
13: Riparian ExplorerWhat can be observed along the riparian banks?
What do observations indicate about the health of the river?
What are some special adaptations of macroinvertebrates?
adaptations, macroinvertebrate, observation, riparian bank
14: Water FindsWhy do we examine aquatic insects?
Why are they important to determining the health of the stream?
What other observations about the stream indicate health?
biotic index, identify, magnify, observation
15: Wetland WondersWhy are wetlands important?
How are wetlands identified?
What types of animals and plants live in wetlands?
filter, saturate, sediments, wetland
Week 4: Going Back to the Past
16: Colonial TimesWhat did the settlers think of America when they arrived?
How did settlers alter the landscape?
How has the land changed in modern times?
17: Geology FormationsHow has the watershed changed over the years?
What geological formations provide clues to another time period?
basalt, boulder, crust, fault, glacial, lava, Precambrian rock, ridge, talus slide
18: Water ThreatsWhy have salmon populations declined?
Why is the Rainbow Dam fish ladder in Windsor important to the salmon?
What are Farmington River Watershed and DEP doing to help the salmon?
alevin, anadromous, fish ladder, fry, incubating, pollutant, restoration
19: Farmington CanalWhy was the Farmington Canal important?
What was its path?
How long did it take to build?
canal, locks
20: Water WheelHow did the Industrial period impact the river?
What type of power was used?
factory, industrialism, water wheel
Week 5: Pollution and Monitoring
21: Water StudiesHow can streams and rivers be monitored?
How can water characteristics, riparian banks and watershed habitats
indicate stream health?
pool, riffle, run, velocity
22: Water ChecksWhat abiotic tests will indicate the health of a stream?
What factors contribute to higher levels of dissolved oxygen in a stream?
Why is it important to monitor the stream?
abiotic, acidic, alkaline, dissolved oxygen, pH level
23: Water MysteryWhat is the difference between point source and non-point source pollution?
What are possible sources of non-point source pollution?
What can be done to prevent pollution?
acid rain, non-point source pollution, nutrient, pesticide, source point pollution
24: Turbid TidesWhat is turbidity?
Why are streams tested for turbidity?
What are causes of turbidity in a stream?
erosion, penetrate, sediment, turbidity
25: Potential PollutersWhat can cause pollution?
What is the impact of pollution in a watershed?
What are ways to prevent or reduce pollution?
Week 6: Water Protection and Conservation
26: Making the ConnectionHow is a river connected to other water bodies?
How do upstream pollution events impact water quality downstream?
27: Water WatchersHow can water be conserved?
How can daily usage be reduced?
calculate, measurement
28: Water SurveyHow much water do I use?
How much does my family use?
water usage
29: Drought DilemmaHow can water be conserved in the event of shortages?water tips
30: Water ActionsWhat are ways to help protect the watershed?organization, involvement

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