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Sixth Grade Science Resources

Window into a Green Virginia
This curriculum addresses Virginia’s Science SOLs with emphasis on 6.9 – Resources, and includes cross references to other Mathematics and Social Studies SOLs. Students are invited to peer through meta­phorical “Windows on the World” to examine key dimensions of developing sustainable communities. Topics include Energy, Water, Air, Agriculture, Forestry and Wildlife, Land Use and Natural Hazards, and Green Building. The culminating activity will help students examine real problems, weigh facts, and present views on current issues.

Hanover Caroline Soil & Water Conservation District MWEE is a curicculum that has been developed as a permanent part of the new State fairgrounds, the Meadow Event Park in Caroline County.

On the Air: Exploring Air Pollution Sources and Solutions is an interactive curriculum developed by Clean Air Partners, composed of 7 units, that engages 6th graders in the exploration of their environment as they study important air pollution topics and climate change.

Virginia Sixth Grade Science Resources
(Arranged by Major Strands of the Standards of Learning)

Scientific Investigation, Reasoning and Logic
Each of the sixth grade standards include an investigative component. Those curriculum supplements (listed under the other links) that contain extensive investigative lessons focusing on a variety of skills are denoted with an “I”.

As a matter of course, sixth grade teachers should contact their city or county public works or utilities department or water authority, parks & recreation department, Virginia Cooperative Extension unit office (including 4-H Youth programs and Master Gardeners) garden clubs, Soil and Water Conservation District and any Friends (of the closest major river) or other recognized environmental organizations as to whether they offer water or other environmental educational materials or programs appropriate for middle school audiences.

Force, Motion and Energy

Project Learning Tree’s Energy & Society Kit : provides educators with tools and activities to help students in grades PreK-8 learn about their relationship with energy and investigate the environmental issues related to energy’s role in society. Energy and Society helps students develop critical thinking skills to make decisions about their personal energy use. In addition to hands-on activities, the program integrates music and dance to enhance the study of energy issues. Materials in the Energy & Society kit include an educator’s guide, Energy & Me music CD (a collection of 15 energy-related songs from singer/songwriter Billy B) and Energy & Me music and dance video and a series of posters. The kit is available for purchase at In Virginia , a limited number of kits are provided by grant funding each year in conjunction with Project Learning Tree workshops. For information on Energy & Society workshops, contact Lisa Deaton, State Project Learning Tree Coordinator at

The Museum of Solid Waste & Energy, published by The NEED Project, is a project based cooperative learning activity. Educator’s booklet is available for $3.50 at or 1-800-875-5029 Energy “infobooks” and activities, science can be downloaded from the website.

Virginia Air & Space Center: in addition to docent led tours of the facility in Hampton , Virginia Air & Space Center provides an extensive range of on site programs and demonstrations well suited to sixth grade science. Examples include “May the Force Be With You,” “Energy U,” “Zap: Electrons on the Move,” and “Space Colony: Mars.” A variety of outreach programs are also offered to area schools for up to 60 students per session. In-Service workshops include suggested hands on activities for science and mathematics, a tour of NASA Langley and an IMAX presentation. For more information visit

Science Museum of Virginia: in Richmond is home to hundreds of interactive science exhibits, Ethyl IMAX Dome (the largest movie screen in the state) and Planetarium and the Carpenter Science Theatre Company. Teacher workshops and lecture series relating to astronomy, space technology, electricity, energy and weather and other topics are offered periodically. A variety of educational publications and theatre scripts are available for purchase. For more information visit or call 1-800-659-1727 or (804) 864-1400.

Science Museum of Western Virginia: in Roanoke features six permanent galleries including Light and Sound Arcade, Weather Gallery, Live Animals with a Hard Bottom Reef Tank, Geology Gallery, Body Tech and Illusions. A variety of in-museum and outreach classes are available. Teacher training sessions routinely include the Project WET K-12 Curriculum. For more information visit or contact Nancy McCrickard, Director of Education at or (540) 857-4396.


Project WET K-12 is a nationally developed, comprehensive water education program for teachers and non-formal educators. The majority of the lessons contained in the educator’s guide book are specifically designed or can be easily adapted to upper elementary and middle school audiences. Includes background information and lessons related to atmospheric, surface and ground water, cultural and historical uses of water and contemporary water management issues such as non-point source pollution. Educator’s Guides can only be obtained by attending a six hour workshop. Click here for more information.

“Sea to Summit: A Journey Through The Wateshed” Hosted by skateboarder Tony Hawk and other extreme sports stars, this modestly priced, 19 minute video traces the pat h of water from high mountain peaks through city storm drains and finally out to the beach. Contact the Surfrider Foundation at 1-800-743-SURF or

The Water Sourcebook: Grades 6-8 This comprehensive curriculum published by Water Environment Federation in Alexandria includes extensive background information, lesson plans and activities and suggestions for student action projects. Chapters are devoted to Introduction to Water, Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment, Surface Water Resources, Groundwater Resources and Wetlands. To contact Water Environment Federation, visit or call 1-800-666-0206. The curriculum notebook is also available for purchase through Acorn Naturalists at or 1-800-422-8886.

Living Systems

Project WET’s “Healthy Water Healthy People” Educators Guide: contains a series of engaging classroom activities that prepare students for field investigations focusing on water quality and watersheds. “Healthy Water Healthy People” (HWHP) curriculum contains demonstrations, experiments, games, problem solving scenarios and research projects related to basic water chemistry, water quality parameters, chemical and biological monitoring techniques, non point pollution sources and natural resource management issues. HWHP lessons and activities may be used before or after a field experience as part of a comprehensive unit of study that appeals to all types of learners and meets the criteria sent forth in the statewide Meaningful Watershed Experience initiative. The HWHP educator’s guide and a supplemental water quality testing guide and kit can be purchased from Project WET USA at or be obtained for approximately half cost through participation at a workshop sponsored by Virginia Project WET. For more information, contact Page Hutchinson, State Project WET Trainer, at or (804) 698-4488.

“Cooking up Great Conservation Education Programs: A How-To Manual of Ideas, Activities and Projects” is available free from the Virginia’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts at Ideas for stations for festivals and field days and an extensive section on ground water, cave and stream models is included. The state website map enables teachers to locate their local Soil and Water Conservation District which may have additional educational programs and/or curriculum materials.

Meaningful Outdoor Watershed Experiences 6 th Grade Curriculum: Produced under a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund, this curriculum consists of lesson plans, student worksheets and power point slide shows for five classroom presentations designed to prepare students for an outdoor stream or watershed experience. The five classroom units are Watershed Concepts, The Virtual Watershed Tour, Biological Stream Monitoring and Visual Stream Assessment. All the materials are available on CD-ROM and can be adapted and printed to suit any watershed, school or class within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. For more information, email

“Wonders of Wetlands” Educator’s Guide Produced through a partnership between Environmental Concern Inc. and The Watercourse (Project WET USA,) this curriculum includes numerous upper elementary and middle level lessons and activities related to wetland systems and more general water quality issues. Wetland delineation activities, plant and soil investigations, and instructions for assembling inexpensive watershed, wetland and groundwater models are included. A new Wetland Youth Leadership program for middle and high school students is available. For more information contact the Environmental Concern Education Department at at (410) 745-9620. The WOW guide can be purchased directly at or obtained for approximately half price through a workshop sponsored by Environmental Concern or Virginia Project WET (contact Page Hutchinson at or (804) 698-4488.

“Virginia State Parks and Natural Area Preserves: Your Backyard Classrooms” is a K-12 field based curriculum developed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation with support and coordination by a variety of other agencies to show how individual state parks and natural preserve areas are well suited for student investigations. Activities are hands-on, correlated to the Virginia Standards of Learning and cover a variety of subjects. Both Chesapeake (Coastal) and Mountain versions have been published with a Piedmont edition to soon be published. Information on both the history and unique natural features of each park or preserve area is included to help plan your visit. “No matter where you live in Virginia , you’re within an hour’s drive of a Virginia State Park .” Copies of the “Your Backyard Classroom” are provided at free workshops conducted at individual state parks. For more information or to obtain the contact information for the state park(s) in your region, visit www.dcr.

Project WILD Aquatic K-12 Guide and Project WILD School Sites: Project WILD Aquatic includes several lessons on the abiotic components of aquatic communities and watersheds and how environmental changes impact aquatic organisms. Project WILD School Sites focuses on the development of schoolyard habitat and outdoor classrooms. The curriculum includes several investigative lessons related to water as a component of habitat, water elements in landscape design and smaller aquatic communities. Both curricula are available for free at workshops sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. For more information on Project WILD Aquatic contact Suzie Gilley at

For more information on Project WILD School Sites, contact Carol Heiser at

Project Underground: Sponsored by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Project Underground curriculum supplement is designed to promote better understanding of caves and Karst lands and their management needs. Teachers can obtain free copies of the curriculum at Project Underground workshops. Sixth grade science teachers will find lessons relating to the hydrologic cycle and groundwater of particular benefit. Contact Carol Zokaites, Karst Education Coordinator at (540) 831-4057 or for more information.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation: provides teachers with a comprehensive range of services including summer courses, curriculum, field trips, student action projects and an on-line Bay resource library at CBF conducts field trips for sixth grade students on the Bay and along most of its major tributaries. Among the most popular in Virginia are the Skipjack cruises on the Bay and in Hampton Roads on the Elizabeth River and Canoe Rigs in several saltwater marsh areas and on smaller tributaries such as the Rivanna River (James River Watershed) Teachers partici pat ing in CBF field trips receive an extensive packet of lesson plans and suggested action projects to enrich the unit of study. The WAVE curriculum introduces students to the Chesapeake Bay watershed, its Virginia tributaries and the most significant issues facing water quality and fisheries in the Commonwealth. In cooperation with National Geographic Society, CBF sponsors the Chesapeake Classrooms program which provides professional development opportunities and materials to teachers interested in implementing multi- week units focusing on the local watershed. For more information visit the CBF website or call (804) 780-1392.

ChesSIE and Chesapeake Bay Program: Chesapeake Science on the Internet for Educators ( is a unique web-based resource center and communications hub that broadly supports watershed-wide K-12 science education. The site provides educators access to quality Bay-related education resources, on-line data and connection with other K-12 classrooms. Lesson plans and activities, professional development opportunities, student enrichment programs, restoration project information, email discussion lists, on-line bulletin board and watershed profiles listing major pollutants and water quality data are included.

Capital Region Earth Force: provides educators training and year-long support in the Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN.) GREEN’s materials include water monitoring kits and the Virginia Waterways and Protecting Our Watersheds curricula. The Protecting Our Watersheds curriculum provides a framework through which students of Earth Force educators identify a watershed impairment and devise and execute an action plan to address the impairment. With an emphasis on community involvement, balanced research and responsible decision-making throughout the process, GREEN provides students an opportunity to become active citizens that are making a difference in their community. Both the Virginia Waterways and Protecting Our Watersheds curricula are aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning. To learn more, contact Jen McDonnell at or (703) 519-6867.

Shenandoah National Park’s Watersheds Program: Designed for sixth grade, this program includes both classroom activities and field study in Shenandoah National Park , headquartered in Luray ( Page County .) Within the park’s boundaries, are the headwaters for three of Virginia ’s major watershed systems. The panoramic views at SNP’s overlooks provide students with a unique opportunity to view and discuss the pat terns of surrounding watersheds. Through study and observation of a mountain stream, they increase their understanding of the dynamics of stream life and the far-reaching impacts of water management and usage. For more information contact the SNP Education Office at 540-999-3489 or visit

Danville Science Center: an affiliate of the Science Museum of Virginia, the Center offers locally based watershed education programs for Grades 4-8 on the Dan River . Basic water monitoring techniques are included. Applicable teacher workshops are offered periodically. Contact Sonya Wolen, Assistant Director, at or (434) 791-5160 for more information.

Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems

NASA Langley’s Educator Resource Center at Virginia Air & Space Center: provides free instructional information, materials, consultation and training workshops on NASA educational products. Using a subject/grade level approach, educators who visit the Educator Resource Center in Hampton receive standards-based educational products that include NASA’s cutting-edge research in science, mathematics and technology. The ERC introduces teachers to educational resources like NASA Spacelink, NASA Television and the NASA Educational Home Page. Print materials include lesson guides, educational briefs and activities, posters and lithographs. Educators may bring a blank VHS tape and use the Center’s dubbing system to copy video programs from their collection. Free workshops and training sessions are available on the following topics: internet resources, lunar and meteorite sample security training, overview of NASA educational products and general NASA education service briefings. For more information visit or call (757) 727-0900 ext 757.