Teaching Resources

Watershed Airshed Education

The health of a watershed is characterized by the water quality of its streams and rivers, its ability to support aquatic life, and the richness of native species (biodiversity). While many people understand the complex interactions between land and water, the relationship between airsheds and water quality may not be as obvious. Identifying where pollutants come from, how they are transported, and how they affect the watershed is key to helping students understand the connections between air, land, and water.

On this webpage, teachers (grades 6-12) can find lesson plans and classroom exercises to help students investigate Delaware River air and watersheds.

Classroom Activities

A Drop in the Bucket –  An exercise to show students how much their state’s water supply contributes to the world water supply and how it compares to glaciers, oceans, etc. Developed by Oklahoma State University.

Water Test Record Sheet.xls –  Sample data sheet for recording water quality data from monitoring sites, including free chlorine, total chlorine, hardness, and pH parameters.

World Water Supply –  Charts showing all the sources of water in the world and what portion is available for human use.

Lesson Plans

Assessing the Health of Your Local Airshed and Watershed –  Identify sources of pollution in your neighborhood, ways to improve local air and water quality. Classroom exercises to determine automobile contribution to nitrogen pollution and examine air and water quality using internet sources.  Produced by Pennsylvania Sea Grant, 2009.

Nutrient Loading Model –  Nutrient Loading Model examines what happens when nutrients from air, land, and sewage treatment plant enter the waterway. Classroom experiment uses TerrAqua column and Watershed Journal.  Produced by Pennsylvania Sea Grant, 2009.

Rainwater Perc Chart –  Rainwater Percolation Data Sheet for Rain Hits the Land experiment.  Produced by Pennsylvania Sea Grant, 2009.

Renewable Energy: The Great Debate –  An internet based classroom exercise to debate the costs and benefits of energy alternatives.  Produced by Pennsylvania Sea Grant, 2009.

Creating a Watershed Journal –  An activity to be used throughout the airshed/watershed unit to record thoughts, experimental data, and observations.  Produced by Pennsylvania Sea Grant, 2009.

When Rain Hits the Land: Experimenting with Runoff –  A classroom based investigation to determine where rainwater goes. Use with Rainwater Percolation Data Sheet and Watershed Journal.  Produced by Pennsylvania Sea Grant, 2009.


Water Quality Monitoring Interpretation Guide for Students – Produced by the Delaware Aquatic Resource Education Center, 2007.

Algae Guide –  Drawings of alga commonly found in healthy or polluted surface waters in the US. Produced by the US Department of Agriculture.

Field Guide for Freshwater Macroinvertebrates and Plankton in Pennsylvania – A guide to macroinvertebrates and plankton in Lake Erie and clear lakes in Pennsylvania. Produced by Pennsylvania Sea Grant, 2008.

PowerPoint Presentations –  Delaware River Watershed and Airshed. An overview of Delaware River’s airshed and watershed, sources of air pollutants, nitrogen deposition, and air pollution monitoring.  Produced by Pennsylvania Sea Grant, 2009.

Nutrients and Algae Part I –  An overview of major algal nutrients and their sources.  Produced by Pennsylvania Sea Grant, 2009.

Nutrients and Algae Part II –  Continued from Part 1. Provides detailed photos of different types of plankton and diatom species and the effects of nutrients on algal growth.  Produced by Pennsylvania Sea Grant, 2009.

Recipes for Culturing Alga –  A recipe for stock solutions to culture green alga.

Grow Algae –  Formulas for adding experimental nutrient values to water samples, to examine rate of nutrient growth and species observed. Excel spreadsheet. Produced by Pennsylvania Sea Grant, 2009.