Chesapeake Bay Studies

Using the environment as an integrating context allows us to teach core subjects through the theme of Chesapeake Bay Studies.  Each year begins with the study of the history of the watershed by following John Smith’s exploration of the Bay.  His exposure to Native Americans, his discovery of rich natural resources, and his incredible mapping of the geographic features provide a foundation for the program.  Classroom study using textbooks and literature form a basis in language arts. Computer class is used for research and writing as students learn word processing, layout, and presentation software. Science class is focused on the concept of a watershed, definition of and the ecology of an estuary and river systems. Map study and investigations of historic population trends of keystone species integrate the program into the math curriculum.  Partnerships with the Department of Natural Resources, the National Aquarium, Kent County Soil Conservation, Washington College, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the Sultana Projects provide opportunities for project based learning such as over-wintering native diamond back terrapins and blue gills, building buoys to collect data, and the growing of underwater grasses. The program is further enriched through a series of guest speakers from the community and numerous field experiences.  Culminating the year-long program of three to four hours per week is a magical three day trip to one Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Island Study Centers. Here, the children are immersed in the history, culture, and ecosystem they have been studying. This program is designed to give the children a sense of place and to inspire environmental stewardship.