Natural Heritage of Indiana

Lesson Plans for Natural Heritage by Grade Level

Teach students K-12 about nature, conservation, and ecological diversity

Elementary Lesson Plans (K-6th grade)
Intermediate Lesson Plans (5th-8th grade)
Secondary Lesson Plans (9th-12th grade)

Elementary Lesson Plans (K-6th grade)

Saving the Monarch - In this unit, K-2nd grade students will learn about caring for the environment using the example of the Monarch butterfly. Learners will be introduced to the concepts of stewardship, community, and how making an area attractive is an act of philanthropy.  
Indiana State Standards covered »

Learning to Give through Save the Earth Now

Story Sampler Our Natural World - For younger kids (K-3rd), this Story Sampler includes hands-on, cross-curricular activities for five books that are linked by the common theme of the natural world.  
Indiana State Standards covered »

Reading is Fundamental through University of Wisconsin-Extension ide@s resource

My Water, Your Water, Our Water – In this unit, 3rd through 5th graders will discover individual and collective responsibility of maintaining the health of the Great Lakes Basin.  
Indiana State Standards covered »

Learning to give through Save the Earth Now

Create Less Waste in the First Place - An activity guide for 3rd or 4th grade teachers that allows students to explore ideas on how to reduce waste.
Indiana State Standards covered »

EPA through University of Wisconsin Extension ide@s

Rivers for the Common Good - For 3rd-5th grade, this cross-disciplinary unit will help learners discover how our waterways are polluted and how necessary it is to keep our waterways and rivers clean.  
Indiana State Standards covered »

Learning to Give through Save the Earth Now

Not "Indians" Many Tribes: Native American Diversity - For students in grades 3-5, this unit will study the relationship between natural environment and culture, focusing on the diversity in Native American tribes. The unit seeks to answer the guiding question: How did geographic location, climate, and natural resources influence the diversity of Native American tribes and nations?
Indiana State Standards covered »

Wisdom Keepers, Inc., through EDSITEment, the National Endowment for the Humanities

Defining Ecology - Through five 30-45 minute lessons, 3rd-6th grade students will work in cooperative groups to define, study, and incorporate vocabulary terms into writings about ecology.  
Indiana State Standards covered »

Richard Oakes Peters, Ed.D. through the University of Wisconsin Extension ide@s

A Walk in the Woods - A Walk in the Woods is even more than a lesson plan. This interactive site lets 5th graders explore and appreciate nature even if they can't go outside.
University of Illinois Extension

Native Americans and Early Explorers -5th graders will study the effects of Native Americans on the development on the United States and the effects of early explorers on Native Americans in this 6-9 week unit.
Indiana State Standards covered »

Sharon Boots, Suzie Jenney through the Indiana Humanities Council SmartDesktop

The Secchi Disk (see also Indiana Expeditions) - In two 45-minute lessons, 3rd-7th graders will explore how a Secchi disk is used to evaluate the transparency of water. Using graduated cylinders filled with different concentrations of powdered milk solution, students will measure the depth at which a miniature Secchi disk is visible.  
Indiana State Standards covered »

Indiana Expeditions through W-FYI

How Much is Too Much? (see also Indiana Expeditions) - In this 45-minute activity for grades 3-7, students will decide how much risk they are willing to assume as it relates to drinking polluted water.
Indiana State Standards covered »

Indiana Expeditions through W-FYI

The Name Game (see also Indiana Expeditions)- 3rd through 7th grade students will gain an understanding of how dinosaurs are named.  Using designated card sets for the different parts of dinosaur names, students will construct dinosaur names and then describe and draw or construct a model of their “new” dinosaur.
Indiana State Standards covered »

Indiana Expeditions through W-FYI

Student Paleontologists: Delving into Microfossils (see also Indiana Expeditions) - 3rd-7th graders, Given a small clay sample, students will use a simple cleaning procedure to search for microfossils.  They will choose a specific physical characteristic to sort the samples, classify the samples by phylum, and then display the samples for others to examine.
Indiana State Standards covered »

Indiana Expeditions through W-FYI

Tinker, Tailor, Farmer, Sailor - This multi-lesson mini-unit can be adapted for the 4th-8th grade. Students will analyze primary sources to determine why colonists were drawn to particular types of land and regions of the country.
Indiana State Standards covered »

Library of Congress, American Memory Project

Journeys West -A unit plan suited for 4th- 8th graders about the westward advancement of settlers in the 1800s. Students use primary sources from the American Memory collections to develop an understanding of American westward expansion.
Indiana State Standards covered »

Library of Congress, American Memory Project

Mammoth Cave - adaptable for grades 5-12, this lesson explores Mammoth Cave National Park in several ways. Students will learn how the cave was formed, how it remains dependent on water, how early travelers reacted to visiting the cave, and how the cave's resources have been used.
Indiana State Standards covered »

National Park Service

Intermediate Lesson Plans (5th-8th grade)

Water Resources and the Role of the Independent Sector - This unit for 6th-8th graders will direct students to study the issues of the amount of water per person, distribution of the water in relation to our ever increasing population and the quality of the water at our disposal and to understand the role government(s), business and industry, the independent and family sectors play in preserving our water resources.
Indiana State Standards covered »

Learning to Give through Save the Earth Now

Oil Changes Everything - This unit will allow the 6th-8th grade learners to share their knowledge of the ocean’s environment and protecting the animals that inhabit them. It includes lessons about the importance and careful management of these resources and the impact humans have on these environments around the world. Learners will develop ways to become advocates for the protection of the ocean’s environment.
Indiana State Standards covered »

Learning to Give through Save the Earth Now

Forces of Nature - For the 6th through 12th grade. This is one time it's OK to play with Mother Nature. Through this interactive website, find out what makes volcanoes, quakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes tick; and then feed your appetite for destruction.
Indiana State Standards covered »

National Geographic through PRISM

Are You a River Keeper? - In this unit, 6th-8th grade learners will use fundamental scientific techniques to examine the health of a river by conducting scientific quantitative and qualitative analysis.
Indiana State Standards covered »

Learning to Give through Save the Earth Now

Bird Beaks - This is a two session activity designed to provide students with a hands-on activity to help 6th graders explore animal adaptations, namely the shape of a bird's beak in relation to their food source.
Indiana State Standards covered »

University of Montana Educators through The Educator's Reference Desk

Rivers for the Common Good - For 3rd-5th grade, this cross-disciplinary unit will help learners discover how our waterways are polluted and how necessary it is to keep our waterways and rivers clean. Indiana State Standards covered »
Learning to Give through Save the Earth Now  

Tinker, Tailor, Farmer, Sailor -This multi-lesson mini-unit can be adapted for the 4th-8th grade. Students will analyze primary sources to determine why colonists were drawn to particular types of land and regions of the country.
Indiana State Standards covered »

Library of Congress, American Memory Project

Chilling Out: Exploring Alternative Sources of Energy - 7th-10th graders will learn about about the urgency of investigating new sources of alternative energy. Students will synthesize their knowledge by explaining why current forms of alternative energy are too limited or inefficient to replace fossil fuels.
Indiana State Standards covered »

University of Wisconsin Extension ide@s

Journeys West -A unit plan suited for 4th- 8th graders about the westward advancement of settlers in the 1800s. Students use primary sources from the American Memory collections to develop an understanding of American westward expansion.
Indiana State Standards covered »

Library of Congress, American Memory Project

How Much is Too Much? (see also Indiana Expeditions) - In this 45-minute activity for grades 3-7, students will decide how much risk they are willing to assume as it relates to drinking polluted water.
Indiana State Standards covered »

Indiana Expeditions through W-FYI

Defining Ecology - Through five 30-45 minute lessons, 3rd-6th grade students will work in cooperative groups to define, study, and incorporate vocabulary terms into writings about ecology.  
Indiana State Standards covered »

Richard Oakes Peters, Ed.D. through the University of Wisconsin Extension ide@s

Mammoth Cave - Adaptable for grades 5-12, this lesson explores Mammoth Cave National Park in several ways. Students will learn how the cave was formed, how it remains dependent on water, how early travelers reacted to visiting the cave, and how the cave's resources have been used.
Indiana State Standards covered »

National Park Service

A Walk in the Woods - A Walk in the Woods is even more than a lesson plan. This interactive site lets 5th graders explore and appreciate nature even if they can't go outside.
University of Illinois Extension

Native Americans and Early Explorers -5th graders will study the effects of Native Americans on the development on the United States and the effects of early explorers on Native Americans in this 6-9 week unit.
Indiana State Standards covered »

Sharon Boots, Suzie Jenney through the Indiana Humanities Council SmartDesktop

My Water, Your Water, Our Water – In this unit, 3rd through 5th graders will discover individual and collective responsibility of maintaining the health of the Great Lakes Basin.  
Indiana State Standards covered »

Learning to give through Save the Earth Now

The Name Game (see also Indiana Expeditions)- 3rd through 7th grade students will gain an understanding of how dinosaurs are named.  Using designated card sets for the different parts of dinosaur names, students will construct dinosaur names and then describe and draw or construct a model of their “new” dinosaur.
Indiana State Standards covered »

Indiana Expeditions through W-FYI

Not "Indians" Many Tribes: Native American Diversity - For students in grades 3-5, this unit will study the relationship between natural environment and culture, focusing on the diversity in Native American tribes. The unit seeks to answer the guiding question: How did geographic location, climate, and natural resources influence the diversity of Native American tribes and nations?
Indiana State Standards covered »

Wisdom Keepers, Inc., through EDSITEment, the National Endowment for the Humanities

The Secchi Disk (see also Indiana Expeditions) - In two 45-minute lessons, 3rd-7th graders will explore how a Secchi disk is used to evaluate the transparency of water. Using graduated cylinders filled with different concentrations of powdered milk solution, students will measure the depth at which a miniature Secchi disk is visible.  
Indiana State Standards covered »

Indiana Expeditions through W-FYI

Student Paleontologists: Delving into Microfossils (see also Indiana Expeditions) - 3rd-7th graders, Given a small clay sample, students will use a simple cleaning procedure to search for microfossils.  They will choose a specific physical characteristic to sort the samples, classify the samples by phylum, and then display the samples for others to examine.
Indiana State Standards covered »

Indiana Expeditions through W-FYI

Secondary Lesson Plans (9th-12th grade)

What is Conservation and Why Does it Matter? - This lesson introduces 9th-12th grade students to some historically significant leaders, thinkers, and artists of the early conservation movement through selections from their writings and art.
Indiana State Standards covered »

The Library of Congress, American Memory Project

Chilling Out: Exploring Alternative Sources of Energy - 7th-10th graders will learn about about the urgency of investigating new sources of alternative energy. Students will synthesize their knowledge by explaining why current forms of alternative energy are too limited or inefficient to replace fossil fuels.
Indiana State Standards covered »

University of Wisconsin Extension ide@s

Forces of Nature - For the 6th through 12th grade. This is one time it's OK to play with Mother Nature. Through this interactive website, find out what makes volcanoes, quakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes tick; and then feed your appetite for destruction.
Indiana State Standards covered »

National Geographic through PRISM

Mammoth Cave - adaptable for grades 5-12, this lesson explores Mammoth Cave National Park in several ways. Students will learn how the cave was formed, how it remains dependent on water, how early travelers reacted to visiting the cave, and how the cave's resources have been used.
Indiana State Standards covered »

National Park Service

Trail of Tears, Indian Removal Act - Students use maps, excerpt of a Presidential speech, oral testimony, and a painting to examine the political reasoning behind the Indian Removal Act as well as the public portrayal and personal impact of the Trail of Tears on the Cherokee nation. Indiana State Standards covered »
History Matters, George Mason University  


Education Resources by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Education Center (NREC) NREC

 

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources' Education Center provides professional training and support for educators and volunteers to promote responsible stewardship of our natural resources. Attend workshops, browse curriculum guides, borrow hands-on classroom material, and more! The NREC programs include:

* Hoosier Riverwatch (Volunteer Stream Monitoring)
* Project Learning Tree (Forestry Education)
* Project WET (Water Education for Teachers)
* Project Wild (Wildlife Education)

NREC programs offer:
* Statewide Workshops for Adults (6-8 hours in length)
* Certification Renewal Units & College Credit
* Loaner Items for NREC Program Participants
* Advanced Topic Workshops

Learn More»

Schedule a Free Outdoor Education Program for your class! DSE
The Discovering the Science of the Environment program is an experiential, inquiry-based, outdoor laboratory focused science education program for 4th-9th grade classes in central Indiana. Based in water resource and ecological restoration research and education programs at CEES this program effectively bridges applied environmental research and technology to school education and outreach. Utilizing a mobile resource trailer equipped with interactive technology tools, web interface, and GIS mapping capabilities, the DSE program travels to your school to provide FREE educational programming at school ground natural areas. All programs are aligned to Indiana State Standards in science and mathematics and Excellence in Environmental Education - Guidelines for Learning (Pre K - 12) and resources, scientific equipment and measurement probes are provided by DSE. Fifteen comprehensive Outdoor Education classes are currently offered. Download an application»
Learn More»

  Major funding for the project was provided by:
NHI Funders

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