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.
- 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.
- 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.
- High school students explore how natural resource managers adapt their work to reduce species loss and plan for changing seasons, habitats, and phenological patterns.
- Middle school students enter the world of conservation biology as they learn about what endangered status for a species means. Students watch videos to learn about what species in Washington are considered at risk of extinction and how diverse stakeholders work together to recover species.
- Middle school students are introduced to migration concepts in animals and birds with a focus on migrating waterfowl (ducks, geese, and swans).
- 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.
- 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.
- High school students analyze the intersection between marginalized communities and environmental health. Students answer questions like, “Who does overfishing harm the most?” and, “Who is most vulnerable to sea-level rise?” Students then take a look at their own communities by taking a self-guided walk and exploring their neighborhood with their senses.
- Middle school students explore the exciting world of Washington's pollinators and learn why pollinators are important to our environments and economies.
- 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 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.
- Middle schools students analyze the positive and negative aspects of wildfires in Washington and learn about historical fire regimes and how Washington ecosystems and wildlife have evolved with fire over thousands of years.
- High school students learn about the history of fish and wildlife conservation in the United States and analyze the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Students consider how fish and wildlife managers balance diverse community interests and use data from the best available science to inform management decisions.
- High school students are introduced to the various diseases and zoonoses that the wildlife and people of Washington experience.
- 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.