Chesapeake Bay Foundation – Potomac River Trip

AWS-map reading

LILI Unit: Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Potomac River Program

 Essential Question:
How can we determine the health of an aquatic ecosystem?
Pre-trip lesson: This program introduces students to the concept of a healthy aquatic ecosystem.  Students examine an example of a local aquatic food chain and learn about the various organisms within the ecosystem.  They also learn how to assess the overall health of an aquatic ecosystem through water quality testing and examining biodiversity. Finally, students build map skills by discussing the bodies of water they will visit during the trip.


Level of Difficulty:


Trip:   Students travel along the Potomac River on the Sequahana, which is operated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. While aboard, students assess the health of the Potomac River by completing several water quality tests using scientific instruments.  They also have the opportunity to catch, touch, and identify fish, examine plankton under the microscope, identify bird and fish species, and experience a day on the river – all while enjoying stunning views of their city!
Academic Standards:

  • English Language Arts (CC.5.R.I.2, CC.5.L.4.b)
  • Science (5.9.5)
Post-trip lesson: Students write letter to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation sharing their findings about the health of the river and offer recommendations about ways to combat various problems plaguing the watershed. Students also test their knowledge of aquatic ecosystems as they compete in a collaborative review game and take written assessments.