Wild Washington Lesson Plans
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 or in an outdoor learning setting, 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 several 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.
Family learning (All ages)
In addition to formal lesson plans, the Department has a variety of family-friendly activities for people to do together at home or their local green space.
Wild Washington Lessons
Solution to PollutionElementary 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.
State of SalmonThis 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.
Temperate Rainforest EcosystemsElementary 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.
Trafficking WildlifeMiddle 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.
What Specialized Teeth You HaveElementary school students discover Washington’s diverse carnivore population and explore adaptations that help carnivores find food, mate, have babies, and survive in their habitats.
Wildlife and WildfiresMiddle 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.
Wildlife Conservation and ManagementHigh 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.
Wildlife DiseaseHigh school students are introduced to the various diseases and zoonoses that the wildlife and people of Washington experience.
Wildlife DoctorsMiddle 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.
Wildlife Life CyclesElementary 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.