Fall lessons: 6th - 8th grade

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

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Hungry Orcas, Declining Salmon - Oct. 2

This lesson dives into the Puget Sound and engages students in predator-prey relationships and species decline. Students will hypothesize about the relationship between Southern Resident orcas and Chinook salmon and will cite their claims using empirical evidence. They will learn about what National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) researchers are doing to study Southern Resident Orcas and how Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) biologists are removing physical barriers to migrating salmon. 

The lesson incorporates science and scientific writing standards. Students will use graphs to make claims and will have the opportunity to make their own informational graphic. Their final assessment encourages them to delve deeper into research of the subject and look for ways to help sustain the population of Salish Sea Chinook salmon. Additional resources are available at the end of the lesson. 

Lesson plan

Hungry Orcas, Declining Salmon

Supporting materials


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Sharing Spaces - Oct. 23

In Sharing Spaces, students analyze how their community co-exists with wildlife. They investigate why wildlife can be attracted to urban, suburban, and rural areas. 

After an introduction to the topic, students research a human-wildlife conflict issue within their community. Next, they design a project to help their community resolve this issue. Students consider issues of habitat fragmentation, feeding wildlife, and lifestyle choices.

This service-learning based lesson introduces students to community collaboration and helps them build diverse problem-solving skills necessary for co-existing with wildlife in today’s world. This lesson meets national and state standards in science, English language arts, and educational technology.

Lesson plan

Sharing Spaces Lesson Plan

Supporting materials

Hooves and Herds - Nov. 6

In Hooves and Herds, students research the ungulates (hoofed mammals) of Washington and figure out why physical characteristics are important for increasing probability of reproduction during the breeding season (rut).

The lesson uses Next Generation Science Standards focused on genetic variations and animal behaviors and uses Common Core State Standards in science and technical writing to have students generate their own question and then use scientific evidence to present on this question, just like a biologist!

The lesson uses PowerPoints, online flash cards and a brief game to assess student learning along the way.

Lesson plan

Hooves and Herds Lesson Plan

Supporting materials

Protecting Cats and Wildlife - Dec. 4

Domestic cat owners know the various benefits of sharing their lives with frisky feline companions. They’re cuddly, cute, and full of surprises.

However, many biologists have signaled alarm after analyzing the impact of outdoor and free-ranging cats on local and global biodiversity. Not only do outdoor and free-ranging domestic cats catch and kill billions of birds, mammals, and reptiles each year, but they also pose an indirect threat to ocean mammals like otters and seals.  

The lesson, “Protecting Cats and Wildlife” has middle school students learn various viewpoints of cat and wildlife advocates, find compromise, and create practical solutions. Students read articles with varying perspectives concerning cats and wildlife and also study how outdoor cats impact people. Finally, students work with classmates who have opposing viewpoints to build problem solving skills. The lesson integrates Next Generation Science Standards with Common Core State Standards in reading. 

Lesson plan

Protecting Cats and Wildlife

Supporting materials