Department of Environmental Conservation

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Hudson River Lessons for Kindergarten Through Third Grade

Students will practice English language arts skills by listening to or reading short articles, then engage in activities that reinforce content and practice other skills.


Students will respond to articles in ways that require:

A camouflaged hogchoker in a person's palms
Hunt for camouflaged hogchokers!
  • reading or listening for information and understanding;
  • understanding scientific concepts pertaining to the living environment.

Grade level:

Elementary (Grades K-3)

Subject Areas:

English Language Arts, Science, Mathematics, Social Studies

New York State Learning Standards & Next Generation Science Standards: See teacher section for each individual lesson plan.


  • Read and listen to acquire facts and ideas from texts.
  • Gather and organize information about organisms and environmental phenomena.
  • Interpret data presented in tables and maps.
  • Describe major stages in the life cycles of selected plants and animals.
  • Describe how plants and animals depend on each other and their physical environment.


Preparation time: 5 minutes for each lesson
Activity time: 20-45 minutes for each lesson


Depending on the activity, each student may need:

  • A copy of the selected lesson
  • Pencil, pen, crayons, or markers
  • Scissors
  • Tape or glue
  • Measuring tape or ruler


This collection is designed to allow teachers of young children to engage in standards-based study of the Hudson River. While the topics vary, the strategy in these offerings is to have students read - or listen to the teacher read - each article and then engage in a simple activity that reinforces lesson content and uses other skills to process related information. English language arts skills are reinforced in all lessons. Other skills and understandings reinforced by specific activities are listed below, as is a recommended grade level. If available, names of similar lessons for older or more advanced students are noted.

The lessons below and a PDF version of this teacher's section with answer keys may be downloaded individually or bundled together in one PDF file paginated for back to back copying.


  1. Introduce the topic covered in the article.
  2. The teacher may read the articles aloud - or have students read them - to the class to reinforce listening skills. They may also be assigned as in-class student reading.
  3. The activities associated with the articles are best done in class.


Answer sheets are not provided, as in most cases "correct" responses will vary with the individual or encompass a range of possibilities.
Assess comprehension by having students share answers to questions about the articles, or collect and review worksheets.
Make up additional questions about the content of the articles.


Pictures of Hudson River animals, plants, and other organisms are available to expand learning about food chains, habitats, life cycles, and other topics covered in these lessons. Information about classification, size, habitat, place in food chains, and life cycle is included for each organism. The card-sized images are arranged on sheets to be printed back to back with this information. Each picture can then be cut out with the appropriate text on the reverse side.

These children's books cover the Hudson and topics related to the content of these lessons.

  • Lauber, Patricia. Who Eats What? Food Chains and Food Webs. HarperCollins Publishers, New York: 1996. Appropriate for ages 5-9.
  • Locker, Thomas. Where the River Begins. Puffin Books, New York: 1993. Appropriate for ages 4-8.
  • McKinney, Barbara. A Drop Around the World. Dawn Publications, Nevada City, California: 1998. Appropriate for ages 4-8.
  • Pfeffer, Wendy. What's It Like to Be a Fish? HarperCollins Publishers, New York: 1996. Appropriate for ages 4-8.
  • Prosek, James. Bird, Butterfly, Eel. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, New York: 2009. Appropriate for ages 6-10.
  • Sill, Cathryn P. About Fish: A Guide for Children. Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta: 2002. Appropriate for ages 4-8.
  • Talbott, Hudson. River of Dreams: The Story of the Hudson. G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York: 2009. Appropriate for ages 6-8.
  • Wallace, Karen. Think of an Eel. Candlewick Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts: 2004. Appropriate for ages 4-8.

Vocabulary List:

Adirondack Mountains: a group of mountains in northern New York State
angler: a person who fishes with hook and line
camouflage: colors and patterns that let animals blend in with their surroundings
carnivore: an animal that eats meat
community: a group of living things that interact and are located in one place
eel: a snake-like fish with smooth skin and a single fin running from its back around its tail to its belly
elver: a young eel
energy: the ability to do work, to power activity; the sun (solar) and food are sources
estuary: a body of water in which fresh and salt water meet
food chain: the path by which energy in food moves from one organism to another
fresh water: water that is not salty (rainwater is fresh water)
gill: in fish and other animals living in water, an organ used to draw oxygen from water
glass eel: a very young eel that is colorless; one can see through it
habitat: the particular sort of place where a given plant or animal lives
herbivore: an animal that eats plants
high tide: highest water levels in the tidal cycle
insect: an animal with the body clearly divided into a head, thorax, and abdomen, with six legs, and often with one or two pairs of wings
journey: travel from one place to another
lake: large inland body of standing water
life cycle: the sequence of forms and activities by which a living thing develops into an adult able to reproduce and restart the cycle
low tide: lowest water levels in the tidal cycle
metamorphosis: a change of form as a living thing transforms from one life stage to another - a tadpole to a frog, for example
migrate: to move from one place to another
nymph: immature insect
ocean: the entire body of salt water that covers 70 percent of the earth's surface
omnivore: an animal that eats both plants and other animals
predator: an animal that eats other animals
river: a natural stream of water larger than a brook or creek
seawater: salty ocean water
spawn: to lay eggs; usually refers to animals that live in water
stage (of life): one of the distinct forms in the development of a plant or animal
surroundings: the setting around an animal or object of interest; its neighborhood
tides: the alternate rising and falling of the surface of the ocean