Teacher How To Instructions:


1. Each teacher should make 1 copy of the HRWC Health of Watershed Teacher Guide Slide Deck for all their classes.
2. The teacher must make a copy of all the 8 Student Slide Decks, for each class:

3. The teacher should also make a copy of the spreadsheet Breakout Rooms – Assigned Variables and Links to Student Slides, in which they will organize their breakout groups. *This is a total of 9 slide decks and 1 spreadsheet per classroom.
4. These copies can then be put on the learning management tool/teacher’s platform (Schoology, Google Classroom, etc.)
5. Once all files are loaded onto the teacher’s platform, the hyperlinks in the Breakout Rooms spreadsheet need to be updated to the teacher’s copies of the Student Slide Decks. A separate copy for each class should be made.
6. Make sure to give all students editing access to their Student Slide Deck.


Students learn about and compare the health of 2 creeks in their watershed. They observe data collected locally, as well as brief videos to learn about variables that affect creek and river health. They design a model of watershed ecology and make a claim, supported by evidence and their reasoning, about the relative healths of the creeks.

This can be used for block or traditional scheduling. Times are suggested. The organizing presentation slides “HRWC Health of the Watershed” contain slides to share with students as well as a teacher script in the “Notes” section. Additional slide decks support breakout sessions for student groups. 8 groups are supported, but fewer groups will also work.
The total instructional time for this unit is predicted to be about 90 minutes. This may vary with your classes.

Slide 1 – HRWC Health of the Watershed

Timing: 90 seconds to observe, 3 minutes to debrief
Students observe and compare photos of 2 creeks, Millers and Fleming.
Have students view pictures of Fleming Creek and Mallets Creek.
In the Zoom Chat students write at least one thing that they wonder or notice. They should not post = push return until the time finishes. This will allow students enough time to think through their understanding and not read other students’ work.
Share a few initial student thoughts about the apparent difference between the two creeks.
Ask: What information would you need to know in order to determine if the creek is healthy or not?

Slide 2 – What is a Healthy Watershed?

Timing: 5-8 minutes
Students read information on “What Makes a Healthy Watershed?”

Slide 3 – Map of the Watershed

Timing: 1 minute
Students use two white triangles to locate the creeks within the watershed.
The teacher can point out that the white triangles indicate where the two creeks are located in the watershed. The teacher can point out counties on the first map, and locate points of interest such as the hospital, school location, etc. on the creek maps.

Slide 4 – Maps of 2 creeks

Timing: 1 minute
Students observe the slide with Miller and Fleming creeks highlighted. Teacher might point out how the creeks feed into the river.

Slide 5 – Huron River Ecosystem

Timing: 3 minutes
Students read a brief summary of the Huron River ecosystem.

Slide 6 – Initial Model

Timing: 20 minutes
Students are assigned to Breakout groups. Use the Spreadsheet to assign variables.
This spreadsheet has your own groups and the new links you made to the resources for each variable.
Spreadsheet: Breakout Rooms – Assigned Variables and Links to Student Slides
Each group will have a unique link in the spreadsheet that will take them to a different slide to edit.
Variables: Turbidity, Temperature, Stream Erosion and Stream Bank Strength, Stream Speed, Dissolved Oxygen, Discharge, Conductivity, Aquatic Insects

In this portion of the lesson, students will only complete their model on slide 2 of their group’s Slide Deck.
The teacher may want to review the tools to build their models. Students can color code, add or subtract graphics to denote relationships.

(Back to initial/teacher’s slide deck)

Slide 7 – Photos of 2 creeks

Timing: 1 minute
Teacher explains that the breakout groups will be using data from these 2 creeks.
Photo is provided as a resource for group work.

Slide 8 – Model Revision

Timing: 30 minutes
Students will revise their initial models based on the new information.
Students will create a graphic organizer to show their claim, evidence and reasoning.
Group task is outlined:
1. Read information in slides, watch videos, and analyze the data.
2. Revise the initial model to reflect the new information.
3. Complete the graphic organizer ( Claim, Evidence, Reasoning)
4. Identify someone to report out to the whole group.
The teacher may want to model for the class how to use the resources for one variable.
Students complete their tasks as assigned in Slide 8 of the HRWC Health of Watershed Teacher Guide Deck.

Students work in their own group’s Slide Deck.

(Back to initial/teacher’s slide deck)

Slide 9 – Virtual Gallery Walk

Timing: 7 minutes
Groups will use the links on the Spreadsheet to view at least two other group’s Initial Model and Graphic Organizer slides.
Students are not to change another group’s slides, but should make comments in the presenter notes sections. Each group makes at least 1 comment in the presenter notes section.

Slide 10 – Model Revision

Timing: 5 minutes
Groups use comments to revise their Models on their own slide deck

Slide 11 – Creek Photos

Timing: 8 minutes
Groups share out how healthy they thought each creek was, in terms of the variable they examined.

Slide 12 – Watershed Service Opportunities

Timing: 1 minute
Teacher shares to point out ways students can give back to their communities. One example is the HRWC Fall and Spring River Round Up & Winter StoneFly Search.

Slide 13 – Individual Reflections

Timing 5 minutes
Individual Reflections. Use a Google form to collect students’ impressions of lessons.

This mini-unit was designed for high school students and can be used for remote teaching/learning. Jenni Wilkening, a teacher at Pioneer High School, Ann Arbor, MI designed it for use in her AP Biology and AP Environmental Science classes. She based it on the work of Ann Brokaw,Cleveland, Ohio. Additional resources and support came from the Huron River Watershed Council staff Jason Frenzel and HRWC volunteer Janet Kahan.



HS-LS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.

HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.*

AP Biology

Topic 8.7 Disruptions to Ecosystems: Describe human activities that lead to changes in ecosystem structure and or dynamics.

Use data to evaluate a hypothesis( or prediction) including rejecting or failing to reject the alternative hypothesis.


For more information contact Jason Frenzel