Fall lessons: 3rd-5th grade

Fall lessons focus on autumnal cycles and lesson themes are aligned with local and regional celebrations of our state's diverse natural resources.

Solution to Pollution - Sept. 25

This 3rd-5th grade level lesson focuses on how students can be a solution to the global plastic pollution problem. The lesson aligns with International Coastal Clean Up month (September) and Individual Trash Pick Up week for National Public Lands Day on Sept. 26.

Incorporating science, math, arts, and sustainability concepts, educators can teach this lesson in a couple days or throughout the week. The lesson involves writing, graphing, artwork, and verbal problem solving with peers.

Educators can use this lesson at any time throughout the school year, though the student experience will be more enjoyable if their clean up session is during good weather.

At the end of the lesson, you will find a plethora of additional resources to use for further research topics, as well as activities and materials from our conservation partners.

Thank you for being part of the solution to plastic pollution!

Lesson plan

Solution to Pollution

Supporting materials

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Fisheries for the Future - Oct. 16

Fisheries for the Future celebrates the recently proclaimed Seafood Month and our diverse fisheries throughout the state. Students first analyze where their seafood comes from. Then, they are introduced to the concept of sustainable fisheries. The lesson culminates with a research project where they discover how one of Washington’s fisheries are managed.

This lesson follows NGSS science, CCSS English language arts, and Washington OSPI standards for social studies and environmental education.

Also provided in this lesson is a recipe book for oysters and clams from a WDFW shellfish biologist. Make sure to check the lesson for other sustainable seafood recipes and encourage your learners to discover Washington seafood as they cook with an adult in their home.

Lesson plan

Fisheries for the Future

Supporting materials


A Family Pack - Oct. 30

A Family Pack takes 3-5th grade students on a natural history tour of gray wolves to learn about the largest canid in North America.

First, students will meet the department’s wolf coordinator and listen to her answer questions about wolves in Washington. Students then explore an online interactive exhibit to learn more about wolf families and the relationship between humans and wolves. The lesson also features a virtual field trip where students learn about where wolves live and how to identify a wolf track.  

Students analyze cultural perceptions of wolves based on popular  stories, parables, myths, and fairy tales, and create their own story based on facts they learned from wolf biologists.  

The lesson incorporates Next Generation Science Standards and science and engineering principles with Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts reading and writing.  

Lesson plan

A Family Pack

Supplemental videos

How to Grow A Fish - Nov. 20

How to Grow Fish takes students through the history of fish hatcheries in Washington. Students investigate the reason hatcheries were built in the late 1800s and study  the role hatcheries play in the 21st century. The lesson begins with a picture-based PowerPoint and accompanying historical outline. Students then take an interactive tour through Washington fish hatcheries, and explore how fish are spawned, grown and released.

Students put themselves in the role of a hatchery worker where they must visualizing and examining the different values they balance. The lesson culminates with students writing a short story highlighting reasons they think hatcheries play a role in Washington's economy, environment and culture. 

How to Grow Fish combines national standards in science, reading and writing as well as state standards in sustainability and history.  

Lesson Plan

How to Grow Fish 

Supporting materials

What Specialized Teeth You Have - Dec. 11

Elementary school students discover Washington’s diverse carnivore population in the lesson “My, What Specialized Teeth You Have”. Students follow Next Generation Science Standards as they explore adaptations that help carnivores find food, mates, have babies, and survive in their habitats. Students interact with 3D skulls to learn how to spot the differences between carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores.  

Next, students enter an interactive exhibit featuring a reptilian, mammalian, and avian carnivore and will answer questions about how these animals are adapted to catch prey. Students also explore the roles carnivores play in ecosystems. The lesson culminates in students creating a multi-media report on a Washington carnivore of their choice.  

Lesson plan

My, What Specialized Teeth You Have

Supporting materials