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Science Lessons

Using the Hudson River to Teach STEM Skills

A man holding a short-nosed sturgeon
With its downward pointing mouth and
sensitive whiskers, what might the
short-nose sturgeon eat and where? Find
out in the lesson "Dining Out With Fishes
and Birds of the Hudson."

These lessons explore physical and life science topics related to the Hudson. They make use of data collected by scientists, students, and others studying the river. The worksheets require students to interpret information presented in graphs, tables, and maps.

The data are often presented in relation to Hudson River Miles, a geographical system for locating points on the river. Although not required for the science lessons, you may want to download a "Hudson River Miles Map" for students' reference.

  • Hudson River Miles Map (PDF) 192 KB. Note: The map is designed for legal (8.5 inches x 14 inches) paper to maximize legibility, but it will work on letter (8.5 inches x 11 inches) paper as well. To obtain legal size copies, you may need to use the options in your computer's print menu to specify printout on legal size paper.

Dining Out With Fishes and Birds of the Hudson

Two worksheets explore, with the use of many photographs, the variety of birds' beaks and of fishes' mouths and how they are adapted to eat various foods. A third worksheet explores food chains and food webs and asks students to construct a Hudson River food web using information from the first two worksheets. A basic food chain lesson - What Do Animals Need to Stay Alive? FOOD! (PDF) 809 KB - is available for younger students.

Fish Communities in the Hudson

Students will use tables of fish collection data to draw conclusions about where fish live in the Hudson estuary. A basic lesson on habitats - What Do Animals Need to Stay Alive? HABITAT! (PDF) 841 KB - is available for younger students.

Which Fish Where?

This lesson is similar to "Fish Communities in the Hudson," but intended for older students. The tables present more data, and students explore the relationship between salinity and fish distribution in greater detail.

Finding the Salt Front

Students will use Hudson River salinity data to create a line graph that shows the location of the salt front, and use math skills to explore how this location varies over time.

The Hudson's Ups and Downs

Students will interpret line graphs of Hudson River water levels to learn about tides and tidal cycles in the estuary.

Mapping Where Animals Live

Using actual maps from the New York State Amphibian and Reptile Atlas, this lesson asks students to use map-reading skills and knowledge of geography to determine where various species of reptiles and amphibians live.

These Maps Are For The Birds

Similar to "Mapping Where Animals Live," but intended for older students, this lesson shows how biological data can be presented in geographical format using actual New York State Breeding Bird Atlas maps. With data sets collected twenty years apart, students will also explore how and why bird distributions have changed over time.

Science Lesson Package

Teacher and student sections for all of the lessons above in one PDF file, paginated to allow back to back copying.

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  • Contact for this Page
  • The Hudson River Estuary Program
    NYSDEC Region 3
    21 S Putt Corners Rd
    New Paltz, NY 12561
    fax: (845) 255-3649
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  • Page applies to Hudson River region