Teacher Resources

Teacher training programs are designed to increase learners’ knowledge of coastal ecology and the impacts of human actions on coastal areas, and to promote ecologically sustainable behaviors. Participants learn to access and utilize environmental data while preparing math and science lessons that are exciting for students, meet prescribed education standards, and teach communication and analytical skills using real world scenarios. The Reserve currently offers a variety of teacher training opportunities, including graduate credit courses and presentations at regional, state, and national conferences. The programs highlight topics such as renewable energy, climate change, coastal processes, eutrophication, and estuarine ecology. Contact the Reserve’s Education Coordinator for more information or to schedule one-to-one consulting on how to infuse estuarine education into the curriculum.

Remote Learning Ideas

Family Events at Waquoit Bay

Get Outside and Do Some Real Science
Have students make observations of something in their own yard or that they can see from a window in their house or apartment if getting outside is a problem. It could be a tree or a particular plant, a patch in a perennials garden, a bird feeder, an anthill, or a marsh or water body – whatever is within the student’s view. Then they could make weekly or more often observations – sketch in detail what they see, photos, too, note the date, the time, the weather, temperature, behaviors of any animals they see. Anything they can quantify with the resources they have at hand.  Keeping it simple at first will make it less intimidating for parents and fun and engaging for students. We all know this has the students using the practices of science and who knows what they might discover.

If you’d like a more formal write up of this basic idea with related teaching standards and connections to research happening at the National Estuarine Research Reserves, check out this lesson plan write up starting on page 47 (middle /high school level).
https://www.wellsreserve.org/project/sentinel-site-lesson-plan

Curricula & Activities

Family Events at Waquoit Bay

Ask Our Researchers

An interactive site where students can choose questions to ask researchers studying at Waquoit Bay Reserve and have the questions answered by the researchers through short (1-2 minute) videos.

If you prefer to watch the videos straight through without the interactive aspect, please check out our Ask Our Researchers Youtube Playlist.

Family Events at Waquoit Bay

Massachusetts: Bringing Wetlands to Market: A STEM Curriculum Linking Wetlands and Climate Change

The “Bringing Wetlands to Market” research studies located in Falmouth and Mashpee on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, examine the relationship between salt marshes, climate change, nitrogen pollution, and the economic value of salt marshes as carbon sinks. This STEM curriculum module, which is linked to the Next Generation Science Standards, introduces many different aspects of this exciting project and provides teaching ideas and activities for sharing it with teachers and students.
Recommended for Grades 9-12 (many middle school teachers have used it)

Field & Online Activities: Data from the Bringing Wetlands to Market Carbon Project

Teaching Notes: Getting to the Core of the Matter
Student Pages: Getting to the Core of the Matter

Teaching Notes: Modeling Blue Carbon in Salt Marshes
Student Pages: Modeling Blue Carbon in Salt Marshes

Sentinel Site Lesson Plan Booklet

The Sentinel Site Lesson Plan Booklet is a grades 6-12 curriculum module that explores the Reserves’ role as sentinel sites for understanding impacts from climate change and human activities. Lesson topics include habitat mapping, salt marsh vegetation and sampling techniques, sea level rise and coastal wetlands, and student sentinel sites at schools.  Each lesson is linked to the Next Generation Science Standards.
Sentinel Sites activities: https://www.wellsreserve.org/project/sentinel-site-lesson-plan

Suite of Estuary Education Resources

This Suite of Estuary Education Resources helps educators bring estuarine science into the classroom through hands-on learning, experiments, fieldwork, and data explorations. These specially designed lessons, activities, animations and videos can be used independently or as a supplement to existing curricula and can be adapted to meet any grade level.
NOAA estuary education site: https://coast.noaa.gov/estuaries/

Google Earth Activity: Waquoit Bay Reserve Watershed

(for middle and high school science and math students)

Google Earth Waquoit Bay Watershed Tour

Fertilizer Town Meeting Role Play Activity

(for middle and high school science or social studies.civics students)

Past Workshops

Teachers on the Estuary and the Wampanoag Circle of Life (grades 3-5)

Virtual Workshops 2020

Teachers on the Estuary and Wampanoag Circle of Life
Multi-Session Webinar Series Designed for Elementary Teachers-Grades 3-5
September 1-3, 2020
This multi session course introduced elementary school teachers to flexible activities that can be used with their students during this period of uncertainty.  Activities included both on-line and hands-on activities that students can do in classrooms and school yards, as well as their own backyards or homes.
Click here for full description.

Oysters: Place-based learning with local research (for teachers grades 3-12)

Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) – Investigating a Changing Environment
May, June & November 2020
(Middle/High School Teachers) This multi-session course introduced middle and high school teachers to activities that can be used with their students during this period of virtual learning. Activities focused on research conducted locally about sea level rise in salt marshes. Click here for full description.

Step Away From the Screen! Helping Students do Real Science in their own Backyards
April 2020
(K-12 Teachers) This webinar explored ways to get students outside using the practices of science while still conforming to social distancing guidelines. The activities can also be adapted for those students who are unable to get outside. Click here for a full description.

Here are two write ups from teachers who have already been practicing this with their students.
Backyard Environmental Study
Julia West, high school teacher who has been teaching students across the world in Oak Meadow an accredited K-12 distance learning school

Arrival of Spring Backyard Observation Activity
Lucinda Keith, second grade teacher from Bournedale Elementary

Engaging your Students’ Minds with Authentic Water Quality Monitoring Data
April 2020
(Middle/High School Teachers) This course showed how students can virtually check out water quality locally in Waquoit Bay on Cape Cod and across the nation. Teachers learned how students can easily make graphs online to analyze water quality changes over time or compare geographic areas from Alaska to Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Click here for full description.

Oysters: Place-based learning with local research (for teachers grades 3-12)

Oysters: Place-based learning with local research (for teachers grades 3-12)

August 8 & November 12, 2019
Oysters serve as a vehicle to explore adaptations, life cycles, food webs, estuary ecology, human uses and impact, and science practices.

Teachers on the Estuary and the Wampanoag Circle of Life  (grades 3-5)

June 25-27, 2019 and November 2, 2019
Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) is a program of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) that offers field-based professional development for teachers on watershed and estuary topics at Research Reserves. In this program, Reserves use local research and habitats as a context for introducing teachers to coastal science and issues.

This course will introduce teachers of grades 3-5 to salt marsh and estuary ecology (specifically life cycles, food webs, and adaptations) through the lens of Cape Cod Wampanoag culture as well as research scientists and experienced coastal educators.

2017 Pollinating Your Curriculum: Teacher Professional Development for grades 3-5 Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, Math

Tuesday, Feb 28 5-8 pm, Wednesday, April 19, 8:30-5:30 pm, Monday, June 26, 1-5 pm at Reserve HQ
Create a pollinator garden at your school. 1 graduate credit or PDPs available. Register on events section of website.

Download flyer here: Pollinator 2017
Download syllabus here: Pollinating Your Curriculum_ Framingham- CCCCSTEM final (2)

2017 Teachers on the Estuary and the Wampanoag Circle of Life  (grades 3-5)

This course will introduce teachers of grades 3-5 to salt marsh and estuary ecology (specifically life cycles, food webs, and adaptations) through the lens of Cape Cod Wampanoag culture as well as research scientists and experienced coastal educators.

2017 TOTE and the Wampnapoag Circle of Life syllabus here   2017_TOTE_Circle of Life syllabus 30 contact hours STEM PDP
2017 TOTE and the Wampnaog Circle of Life  flyer here Elementary TOTE 2017

2016 Wastewater in Watersheds: The Perfect STEM Topic

Friday, Saturday, April 8, 9, 2016
(middle and high school biology, chemistry, engineering, science and math teachers: 14 PDPs and/or 1 graduate credit)
Syllabus- Wastewater–2016 syllabus- Framinghamv2

2016 Teachers on the Estuary and the Wampanoag Circle of Life syllabus (grades 3-5)

2016_TOTE_Circle of Life syllabus 24 contact hours PRDV 75324

2016 Teachers on the Estuary: Investigating a Changing Environment (middle and high school)

2016_TOTE_syllabus Investigating a Changing Environment