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Hudson River Lesson Plans

Place-based resources to meet learning standards

New! Check out our new series of teaching curricula, developed by NY Sea Grant in partnership with the Hudson River Estuary Program, designed to help middle school students understand climate and weather basics and explore climate-related issues close to home in the Hudson River Valley. Use the NY Sea Grant link in the right hand navigation column to access the Hudson River Estuary Climate Change Lesson Project packet.
Student using a Hudson River Worksheet

Place-based study of the Hudson can help students meet learning standards in engaging fashion. The Hudson River Estuary Program has created interdisciplinary lessons that use the river as context to build understandings and skills required by Common Core and New York State standards. Select individual lessons to support study of English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies, or assemble a collection of them to create a Hudson River unit. Recognizing that teachers are pressed for time, the lessons are easy to prepare and implement.

These lessons are intended for kindergarten through grade 7. At the upper end, they are grouped by discipline; lessons for younger children are grouped together (lessons useful for third graders can be found in both places). A given lesson will often cover several subject areas. In addition, content covered in a lesson focused on one set of skills is often reinforced in another lesson aimed at a different skill set. For example, students can read about the blue crab's life cycle in an English language arts lesson, and then do a math worksheet about the crab's movements in the estuary.

The lessons described in the links below have been reviewed by classroom teachers and field tested in Hudson Valley schools. Bookmark this page and check back on a regular basis, as more will be added in months to come.

Links to Hudson River Lessons:

  • English Language Arts - This collection integrates river studies with instruction in English Language Arts.
  • Mathematics - These lessons use data from river research to construct word problems that require math skills for their solution.
  • Science - These explore physical and life science topics related to the Hudson.
  • Social Studies - These lessons look at the Hudson Valley's history, geography and economics through the lens of the region's environment.
  • Kindergarten Through Third Grade - Students practice English language arts skills by listening to or reading short articles, and then engage in activities that reinforce content and build other skills.
  • Pictures of Hudson River Animals, Plants, Algae, More - These images are a sampling of the estuary's amazing diversity of life, and can be used to extend activities included in the lessons.

Hudson River Lesson Plan Questionnaire

To help the Estuary Program know where these lessons are being used and whether they are meeting teacher needs, please take a few minutes to answer a brief lesson plan questionnaire. Teachers who fill out the questionnaire and provide their name and address will receive a free 20" x 36" map of the Hudson's watershed. You may also use the contact information below to inform us of successes, problems, and suggestions for improvement, along with ideas for other lessons you would like to see.

Other On-Line Sources of Hudson River Lessons

The Estuary Program partners with other groups to develop a full range of curriculum for K-12 study of the Hudson. The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies' Changing Hudson Project features web-based curriculum designed by teachers and scientists to engage high school students in exciting, innovative science connecting them with current research about the river. Teaching the Hudson Valley offers a growing online collection of K-12 lesson plans that connect visits to sites of environmental, historical and cultural interest with classroom study of math, science, history, art and other subjects. And the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve reaches out to classrooms with distance learning via web-based video conferencing as well as lessons on site at its Norrie Point facility on the Hudson in Staatsburgh [Dutchess County]. Links to these resources can be found in the right hand column of this page.

Steve Stanne
Estuary Education Coordinator
Hudson River Estuary Program/NYS Water Resources Institute, Cornell University
NYS DEC Region 3
21 South Putt Corners Road
New Paltz, NY 12561

Email the program