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.
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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.
- High school students are introduced to the many ecosystem services bats provide and are presented with challenges bats face regionally and globally. In this lesson, students will explore anthropogenic impacts to bats and will be asked to create their own solution for bat population declines in their community.
- 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.
- Middle school students are introduced to migration concepts in animals and birds with a focus on migrating waterfowl (ducks, geese, and swans).
- Middle school 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).
- High school students discover the world of conservation biology and learn how people build corridors for wildlife to connect species to fragmented areas of habitat.
- 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.
- Middle school students learn various viewpoints of cat and wildlife advocates, find compromise, and create practical solutions.
- Elementary school students explore the increasingly at-risk shrubsteppe ecosystem and learn about the various wildlife and plants that call the shrubsteppe home.
- Middle school students analyze how their community co-exists with wildlife, and investigate why wildlife can be attracted to urban, suburban, and rural areas.
- 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.
- Middle school students explore the multi-billion dollar, illegal industry of wildlife trafficking. Students also investigate how poaching and trafficking are harmful to communities, economies, and ecosystems in an interactive discussion.
- High school students are introduced to the various diseases and zoonoses that the wildlife and people of Washington experience.
- Middle school students investigate the field of wildlife rehabilitation and explore reasons why wildlife gets sick or injured and learn about the people who help wildlife recover. The lesson teaches students that wildlife rehabilitation is a trained medical profession requiring special training, skills, and space to treat and care for wildlife.
- 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.