Themed around the state’s diverse flora and fauna, Wild Washington lessons and are designed to equip K-12 students with the knowledge, social, and emotional skills needed to think critically, and problem solve around natural resource issues. Activities encourage students to explore various points of view and collaborate with others to find ways to move forward on real-world challenges.
The Department is working with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to ensure lesson plans best meet state and national environmental and sustainability learning standards. Lessons are developed for educators to use in the classroom, and also have modifications embedded for distance learning.
We want to hear from you! Have you used a Wild Washington lesson in your classroom? Tell us about your experience and provide feedback using this short survey.
Elementary school (K-5th grade)
Kindergarten - 5th grade lessons introduce learners to relevant ecological and wildlife-based issues throughout the state. The interactive activities and lesson plans aim to increase problem-solving and critical thinking skills in a variety of disciplines. Lesson vocabulary words and some supplemental materials are available in Spanish.
Middle school (6th-8th grade)
Middle school lessons build on concepts from K-5 lessons and introduce students to careers involving natural sciences. Decision making and collaboration are key social themes as students prepare themselves for high school.
High school (9th-12th grade)
High school lessons focus on teaching students knowledge and skills that can be applied to careers in the natural sciences. Students will focus on sustainability in fish and wildlife, and apply skills in civics to solve problems facing the natural resource industry and balance community interests.
- Elementary school students go on a natural history tour of gray wolves to learn about the largest canid in North America.
- Elementary school students swim into the semi-aquatic world of North America’s largest rodent and study how and why beavers build dams and the impacts beaver dams have on surrounding ecosystems. Students attempt to build their own beaver dam or lodge and evaluate why beaver dams don’t always work.
- Elementary school students learn about what life looks like at the intersection of land and ocean in the Pacific Northwest. Students take a 3D tour of the Puget Sound shoreline and explore the plants and animals who call coastal ecosystems home. They take a visual tour to the beach and use their senses to describe this experience.
- Students explore estuary ecosystems and the relationship between organisms and the exchange of matter in the environment.
- Elementary school students analyze where seafood comes from, and then learn about the concept of sustainable fisheries. The lesson culminates with a research project where they discover how one of Washington’s fisheries are managed.
- Elementary schools students are introduced to the cold-blooded world of reptiles and amphibians, also known as herps. Students classify reptiles and amphibians using a graphic organizer and define what it means for a species to be a reptile or an amphibian.
- Students investigate the reason fish hatcheries were built in the late 1800s in Washington state and study the role hatcheries play today.
- Elementary school students dive into coastal Washington and learn about 13 species of marine mammals. From dolphins to seals, students explore adaptations of marine mammals and use basic research skills to learn more about a species of their choice.
- Elementary school students learn about a unique interior subspecies of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss gairdneri). Students explore food webs connected to redband trout and predict what might happen if species from the web were removed.
- Elementary school students explore the increasingly at-risk shrubsteppe ecosystem and learn about the various wildlife and plants that call the shrubsteppe home.
- Elementary students learn how they can be a solution to the global plastic pollution problem. Teachers can align the lesson with International Coastal Clean Up month and National Public Lands Day in September.
- This learning sequence is anchored in the phenomena: Salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest are declining. Students will explore salmonid life cycles and discover patterns among life cycles of plants and animals who interact with salmon. Students will then learn what makes healthy habitats for salmon.
- Elementary students immerse themselves into the cool, wet rainforest environments of the Pacific Northwest. Students learn about plants and animals who call the rainforest home by exploring adaptations of temperate rainforest organisms, finding out how species interact with one another, and learning how species use different senses to survive in the wet environment.
- Elementary school students discover Washington’s diverse carnivore population and explore adaptations that help carnivores find food, mate, have babies, and survive in their habitats.
- Elementary students learn that baby wildlife can look very different from their parents and that babies have adaptations that help protect them as they grow up. This lesson also teaches students about the importance of not touching or relocating baby wildlife and how mother animals may leave their babies alone for parts of the day.