Cacapon Institute's Potomac Highlands
is a free, 365/24/7 educational tool developed to increase understanding and
enhance appreciation of water resources throughout the
Chesapeake Bay watershed, and around the world. It is designed to be used as a part of the
K-12 curriculum in schools, with detailed lesson plans keyed to WV's Content
Standards and Objectives (comprehensive links to other state's standards are
Watch the video at right
to take a tour of the eSchool. Note: this video does not have a preloader;
it may take a minute or two to load while the screen is blank.
Because Cacapon Institute works in water quality
monitoring and watershed conservation, our program is most relevant
to general science, environmental science, and geography classes. They also give students a chance to
learn about inter-relationships, geography, human health, use of technology,
and to discuss current events.
With this in mind, important
features of the Potomac Highlands Watershed School are:
- Each classroom contains a
list of activities, with a link which serves as an
entry point for each activity, link to background information for each
activity, and a general links page that explores the wealth of web resources
available for our region. The Teacher's Room contains a listing
for each activity, including a link to
supporting materials describing the activity, a lesson plan, handouts and content
- Each lesson has been
reviewed by teacher partners, and conservation/natural resource
management professional to enhance its value to you and ensure its
- Each activity includes: an
instruction phase - with directions on what to do; a
learning phase - where information is read; and a testing phase - where the
knowledge is either tested in a quiz or matching exercise, used to
fill in a form, or used to solve a problem.
- Some activities include
filling out an electronic form that can be e-mailed to you or printed out.
Thus, you can have confirmation that a given activity was completed, and even
see your students' work.
- Each activity targets
specific educational standards to help you meet your curriculum needs. Of course, a given
activity can be adapted to address other standards and we encourage users to do
this as they see fit.
So please, check out the
activities in the "classrooms." You are invited to use
them, assign them, adapt them, have fun, and tell "the Principal" about your
experience! Note: this site is best viewed at 1024x768
resolution or higher.
The Elementary, Middle
school classrooms include:
- vocabulary, a
scavenger hunt, and age-appropriate activities that include a
learning phase with animated shorts and readings, and a testing phase where the
knowledge is either tested in a quiz, matching exercise, or problem-solving
-useful background information on each of the
- links to environmental organizations and agencies.
- some of our favorite Potomac Highlands images.
- selected readings that will change periodically.
- a closer look at some of the Mid-Atlantic's smaller
- a portal to real-time stream, Bay, atmospheric, and precipitation
data collected throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In the
Elementary classroom, links to real time stream, Bay, and precipitation data
are separate (stream flow graph, buoy, rain in dish, respectively).
- a portal to activities on benthic macroinvertebrates and stream sampling.
Project Blueprints and a Pick
- examples of real world, hands-on projects done by classes that use
High School also offers the eForum Telephone, the entry point to Environmental Forums
where students and teachers explore regionally important environmental
issues in depth. Students work both as a class and with other students
across the internet to understand problems and to seek solutions that are
broadly acceptable to their communities. Learn more about the eForums
Room contains detailed lesson plans for elementary, middle and high school activities.
It also contains an eForum updates link that provides teacher instructions and
updates for active forums.
All content on this site was developed by Cacapon Institute staff.
Classroom art by Neil and Jennifer Gillies. Flash activities Watershed
Puzzle, Watershed Creator, Stream Cleaner, and Decision
Matrix were programmed by Luke Fleshman. Flash activity What is a
Watershed was programmed by Jennifer Gillies and Neil Gillies. Flash
activities "What is a Benthic Macroinvertebrate," "The
Sedimentation Blues," Introduction to Stream Sampling", "What is it?"
dichotomous keys, and "Virtual Stream Sampler" were programmed by Jennifer Gillies - and all benthic
macroinvertebrate art was created by Jennifer Gillies using Adobe Illustrator. Content and "playability" were reviewed by partners at the Canaan Valley
Conservation Agency, WV Division of Environmental Protection, WV Department of
Agriculture, the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Friends of Deckers
teachers. We could not have done this without their help, but any and all
errors are solely the responsibility of Cacapon Institute.
was conducted by CI staff, Bob Markley, Vicki Fenwick, Shelby Pavlick, Tim
Craddick (WVDEP), and Friends of Deckers Creek.
website was made possible by grants from the US Environmental Protection
Agency Environmental Education Program, Canaan Valley Institute, The MARPAT
Foundation, Spring Creek Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation,
by donations by the members of Cacapon
Institute. Content has been developed and reviewed by CI staff (Peter Maille, Meredith Pavlick, Neil Gillies,
Frank Rodgers, Jennifer Gillies, Ben Alexandro), and volunteer Bob Markley.
Any errors are solely the responsibility of Cacapon Institute.