Inspiring through Experience

Anacostia Watershed Society

AWS-map reading

LILI Unit: Anacostia Watershed Society, Pontoon Trip

 Essential Question: What animals and plants live in the Anacostia Watershed, and what problems do they face? Pre-trip lesson: Students focus on two aspects of the Anacostia River watershed—its resident species and the on-going struggle with pollution. Through hands-on experiments, students observe the process and effects of erosion.  Similarly, they determine how pollution on the street ends up in the river.  Several short role plays introduce students to the native and invasive species that live in the river habitat.  Students also analyze a map as they explore the meaning of a watershed.
Level of Difficulty: Medium Trip: The highlight of this unit is a pontoon trip down the Anacostia River conducted by the Anacostia Watershed Society. On the ride, students search the water, land, and sky for the residents of the river habitat and consider what the presence of various species indicates about the health of the area.  Students participate in a trash clean-up to reduce some of the visible pollution. They also conduct a water clarity test.
Academic Standards:

  • English Language Arts (CC.4.R.I.2, CC.4.L.4.a)
  • Science (4.3.1, 4.7.10)
Post-trip lesson: As a culminating activity, students conduct an experiment to examine how the earth acts as a natural water filter.  Each team builds a filter to clean polluted water and then compares their results with other teams.  As a class, we discuss why some materials filter better than others.  Students also test their knowledge of the Anacostia River habitat as they compete in a collaborative review game and take written assessments.