Lesson plans

The St. Johns River Water Management District has collected or written the following kindergarten through 12th-grade lesson plans to assist educators in teaching various aspects of water resources. The lessons are correlated to the Florida Standards and may be adapted to suit your particular teaching environment.

Prescribed fire: A versatile land management tool

Fire has always been a part of nature in Florida, and most species depend on it for survival. District land managers conduct periodic “prescribed fires” as a safe way to apply a natural process to ensure ecosystem health to meet the needs of many plants and animals while also reducing the threat of wildfires.

2 minutes, 17 seconds

Rough fish harvest at Lake George, Florida

This teaching tool for Florida educators describes the science behind harvesting gizzard shad to directly remove thousands of pounds of nutrient pollution from Lake George, which helps improve water quality and reduce the severity of algal blooms in the lower St. Johns River.

7 minutes, 21 seconds

Critters in the water and what they tell us

The creatures that live in stormwater ponds and natural waterways give scientists insight into water quality. This video provides an overview of those creatures.

1 minute, 28 seconds


Studying macroinvertebrates is one indicator used by scientists to determine water quality in stormwater ponds and natural waterways. Educators and others who work with students can use this hands-on exercise to expand learning outside the classroom by following the simple steps outlined in this video.

2 minutes, 59 seconds

Watersheds: Our neighborhoods and beyond

Video is an overview of pollutants that impact our waterways and how individuals can reduce their impacts. A presenter works with students using a hands-on model to illustrate concepts.

10 minute, 40 seconds

Florida’s Aquifer: The Treasure Below

Explains how Florida’s aquifer system formed.

5 minutes, 31 seconds

Water Pollution: The Dirty Details

Explains about the kinds of water pollution and how the district and others are working to reduce the amount of pollutants going into our waterways. Gives tips for individuals to reduce their harmful impacts on surface waters.

7 minutes, 21 seconds

Reading, literature connections

General book list

Aardema, Verna. 1992. Bringing Rain to Kapiti Plain. New York: Puffin.
A cumulative rhyme relating how Ki-pat brought rain to the drought-stricken Kapiti Plain.

Arnosky, Jim. 2002. Watching Water Birds. Des Moines, Iowa: National Geographic Children’s Books.
This book contains full-color artwork showing water birds, their features and habitat, with fun facts and information to reinforce natural science learning.

Bailey, Donna. 1991. Wasting Water. London: Franklin Watts.
Bailey discusses how water is wasted and how it can be conserved and used more effectively.

Berkes, Marianne, and illustrator Jeanette Canyon. 2004. Over in the Ocean in a Coral Reef. Nevada City, Calif.: Dawn Publications.
Here’s a playful counting book that introduces children to creatures of the coral reef as they clap to the rhythm of “Over in the Meadow.”

Blair, Eric. 2004. The Crow and the Pitcher: A Retelling of Aesop’s Fable. Minneapolis, Minn.: Picture Window Books.
When a thirsty crow cannot drink from a pitcher because the water level is too low, she uses her ingenuity to solve the problem.

Borman, Susan, Robert Korth, Jo Temte, Carol Watkins. 1997. Through the Looking Glass. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
This is a large-format field guide to aquatic plants in North America and is appealing to the general reader but detailed enough for the botanist and natural resource professional.

Bowden, Rob. 2003. Water Supply: Our Impact on the Planet. San Jose, Calif.: Raintree.
Bowden explains how a planet made up of more than 70 percent water can face a water shortage.

Cast, Vance C., and Sue Wilkinson. 1992. Where Does Water Come From? New York: Barron’s Educational Series.
This book shows how much water there is on Earth, how wells are dug to bring it out of the ground, and how water treatment plants work.

Chambers, Catherine. 2002. Drought. (A Wild Weather series book.) Portsmouth: Heinemann/Raintree.
Drought describes what causes droughts, the conditions that exist during a drought, the harmful and beneficial effects of dry periods, and their impact on humans, plants, and animals.

Cowley, Joy. 1997. Singing Down the Rain. New York: Harper Collins.
In the midst of a severe drought, a mysterious woman drives into town claiming she specializes in rain songs.

DeMott, Robert. 1990. Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath. New York, Penguin Books.
While writing his greatest novel — The Grapes of Wrath — in 1938, Steinbeck kept a journal that chronicled his torments, self-doubts, late and false starts, reversals and other struggles to achieve his goal.

Douglas, Marjory Stoneman. 1990. Nine Florida Stories. Jacksonville: University of North Florida Press.
The nine stories in this first collection by Marjorie Stoneman Douglas take place in a scattering of South Florida settings — Miami, Fort Lauderdale, the Tamiami Trail, the Keys, the Everglades — and reveal the drama of hurricanes and plane crashes, of kidnappers, escaped convicts, and smugglers.

Dresen, M.D., and R.M.Korth. 1994. Life on the Edge…Owning Waterfront Property. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Practical and easily understood, this publication provides information to homeowners for protecting and enhancing lakes near their residences.

Ellis, Brian, and illustrator Michael S. Maydak. 2006. The Web at Dragonfly Pond. Nevada City, Calif.: Dawn Publications.
Each of nature’s creatures passes energy along in a unique way. All things on Earth, from the anchovy to the zooplankton, depend on the green plant, which is the hero of this story. The book has a wonderful teacher’s guide.

Fredericks, Anthony D., and illustrator Jennifer Dirubbio. 2005. Near One Cattail: Turtles, Logs and Leaping Frogs. Nevada City, Calif.: Dawn Publications.
Learn about what creatures live in soggy-boggy places — from dragonflies to frogs, a medley of creatures that swim, soar or crawl in a wetland home.

Galatis, Alex. 1995. Dudley’s Tea Party. Scholastic.
Dudley uses too much water in the morning and cannot find enough water to make tea for his party.

Green, Jen. 2005. Why Should I Save Water? New York: Barron’s Educational Series.
Children learn that water is one of our most precious natural resources. The text discusses ways families can avoid wasting water.

Grobler, Piet. 2002. Hey, Frog! Ashville, N.C.: Front Street/Lemniscaat.
On a very hot day, the animals are roaring mad when a frog drinks up all the water on the savannah, but each animal has an idea of how to get the water back.

Guthrie, Donna. 1993. Nobiah’s Well: A Modern African Folk Tale. Nashville, Tenn.: Ideals Children’s Books.
An African boy carrying home precious water for his family shares it with a succession of animals and eventually has his kindness repaid in an unexpected way.

Hemingway, Ernest. 1952. The Old Man and the Sea. New York: Scribner.
The Old Man and the Sea recounts an epic battle between an old, experienced fisherman and a giant marlin said to be the largest catch of his life. It is a novella (just over 100 pages in length) by Ernest Hemingway written in Cuba in 1951 and published in 1952. It was the last major work of fiction to be produced by Hemingway and published in his lifetime.

Keams, Geri. 1998. Small Girl Bring Water: A Navajo Story. Flagstaff, Ariz: Rising Moon.
This retelling of a traditional Navajo creation myth explains how water came to the Earth.

Kessler, Cristina. 2000. My Great-Grandmother’s Gourd. New York: Orchard Books.
Residents of a Sudanese village rejoice when a traditional water storage method is replaced by modern technology, but Fatima’s grandmother knows there is no substitute for the reliability of the baobab tree.

Nelson, Robin. 2003. We Use Water. Minneapolis, Minn.: Lerner Publications.
Uses simple text and pictures to give examples of the ways we use water.

Pratt, Kristen Joy. 1994. Swim Through the Sea. Nevada City, Calif.: Dawn Publications.
Children will take an alphabetical tour of ocean animals led by Seamore the seahorse. Each animal has a simplified alliterative description.

Rinehart, Susie Caldwell, and illustrator Anisa Claire Hovemann. 2004. Eliza and the Dragonfly. Nevada City, Calif.: Dawn Publications.
After a dragonfly lands on Eliza’s toothbrush, she visits a nearby pond with her bug-loving aunt. There she sees a dragonfly and is introduced to the fascinating characteristics and world of the dragonfly. Before long, Eliza changes her tune. The book includes information about the life cycle of dragonflies and a resource section.

Rodgers, Alan, and Angella Streluk. 2002. Precipitation. Chicago: Heinemann Educational Books.
This book for elementary children focuses on meteorology and climatology and gives them an in-depth view of weather forecasting.

Stanley, Jerry. 1993. Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp. New York: Crown Books.
Stanley describes the plight of the migrant workers who traveled from the Dust Bowl to California during the Depression and were forced to live in a federal labor camp; he also discusses the school that was built for migrant children.

Steinbeck, John. 1939. The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Viking Press.
The Grapes of Wrath is a classic novel published in 1939. This novel focuses on a poor family of sharecroppers, the Joads, driven from their home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in the agriculture industry.

Wheeler, Jill C. 1993. Every Drop Counts: A Book About Water. Rockbottom Books.
The author discusses water conservation and suggests ways to safeguard this precious resource.

Other resources

Sanders, Scott Russell. 1999. Crawdad creek. National Geographic Society. ISBN 0792270975. Grades K-4.
Based upon the author’s own childhood experiences, this book tells of two children who find fossils, frogs, crawdads, deer track, and many other treasures when they visit the creek behind their house.

Pratt-Serafini, Kristin Joy. 2000. Salamander Rain: A Lake and Pond Journal Dawn Publications. ISBN 1584690178. Grades K-4.
A boy named Klint joins the wetland patrol in which each member becomes and expert on a wetland habitat. This realistic, kid-friendly journal features paintings of lake and pond organisms, handwritten notes, clipped articles, and interesting facts about each creature. It provides a vibrant example that students can refer to when creating their own nature journals.