The SWCD will work with you to design a presentation or lesson that best fits your classroom. Most kits can either be presented by teachers during class time or can be made into a presentation given by an SWCD employee. Each kit has all the necessary supplies for the activity and are supplied free of cost to schools in Elkhart County.
To borrow a kit from our collection or learn more about how to incorporate conservation into your classroom, feel free to contact us at 574-533-4383 ext. 3
Listed below are the education kits available for use in the format:
Kit Name / General Topic Recommended Age / Time to Complete / Space Needed Summary and Adaptations
WATER H2O Olympics / Properties of Water Upper Elementary, Middle School / 50 min / Classroom Students compete in 5 “events” to investigate two properties of water, cohesion and adhesion. Incredible Journey / Water Cycle Upper Elementary, Middle School / 1-2 hours / Classroom, gym, or outside area By rolling die of spinning a small spinner, student simulate the movement of water within the water cycle. They can collect beads to put on pipecleaners each time they stop in the water cycle. This can be done outside where students move from area to area rolling alrder dice or inside where students move from table to table. Tarp or EnviroScape / Watershed Pollution K-12 / 1+ hour depending on ‘watershed’ scale / Large floor space or table top A watershed is set up using a tarp or the EnviroScape table top display and pollutants (food coloring, sediment, etc.) are dropped into the area. Rain is simulated through spray bottles and the runoff is collected. Tarp can be set up in gym/large space or EnviroScape can be used in a classroom. From H to OH / Testing pH Middle / 50 min / Classroom or Science Lab Starting with cabbage water, other liquids are added to change the pH (cabbage water changes color). Water Quality / Water Testing Middle, High / 50 min / Classroom or Science Lab Test the water quality of a local water body with Dissolved Oxygen (DO) and phosphate test kits Riverwatch / Waterway Health Assessment All / 1+ hour depending on presentation and activities chosen / Classroom, Science Lab, Outdoor Test and assess aquatic environments through water testing, benthic macroinvertebrate testing, and habitat/streambank assessment. Presentations can be as simple as a discussion or we can take groups to the river to test the water or anything in between. Macro Mayhem / Aquatic Diversity Response to Pollution Upper Elementary, Middle / 2 hours / Gym or outdoors Play a game of tag ot simulate the effects of environmental stressors on macroinvertebrate populations. Benthic Bugs and Bioassessment / Aquatic Diversity Middle / 1 hour / Classroom Determine macroinvertebrate populations. Assess an example stream by using counts of macroinvertebrates of varying pollution tolerance. Can use actual streamwater or “stand-in” pieces to represent macroinvertebrates. Liquid Treasure / Water History All / 45 min / Classroom Understand the historical uses of water by observing some historical artifacts. Can incorporate matching/guessing game for what the artifact is or what it was used for. A Drop in the Bucket / Water Availability Middle / 30 min / Classroom Calculate the percent of available fresh water on Earth
SOIL Soil Health / Soil Conservation Middle, High / 45 min / Classroom Observe the differences in infiltration, runoff, bulk density, and porosity of soils with and without a cover crop (different amount of organic matter) Soil Biology 1 / Soil Food Web Elementary, Middle / 45 min / Classroom Connect soil organisms in a food web (yarn) to learn about organisms that live in the soil and how they are interconnected Soil Biology 2 / Soil Arthropods and Bugs Upper Elementary, Middle / 30-45 min prep + 30min-1hour activity / Classroom, Science Lab Set up a Berlese-Tulgren Funnel to extract insects from the soil to identify and observe the biodiversity of soil organisms Soil Color / Munsell Color System Elementary, Middle / 15-30 min / Classroom Learn about hue, value, and chroma and why soils are different colors Soil Texture / Soil Physical Properties Middle, High / 1 hour / Classroom, Science Lab Feel the difference between sand, silt, and clay in the soil and discover why soil texture is important for soil water retention (and therefore the growth of plant life). Weathering and Erosion Upper Elementary, Middle / 1 hour + prep time / Classroom, Science Lab Speed up weathering processes on 5 different “stations” and discuss how erosion can occur Earthworms / Worm Descriptions and Function Elementary / 1 hour / Classroom Learn the parts of a worm, their preferred habitat, their role in the soil, and also get to touch worms.
Other Environmental and Conservation Activities Insects / Insect ID and Biology K-12 / varies / Classroom Program can be focused on insect identification, diversity, or metamorphosis (butterflies). There are plenty of options we can adapt to the needs of your classroom.
Forestry / Tree Products Upper Elementary / 1 hour / Classroom Learn how many products come from trees. Touch and Feel Parts of the Tree / Identifying Tree Parts Elementary, Middle/ 45 min / Classroom Students reach into a bag to see if they can identify tree parts by touch To Be A Tree / Identifying Tree Parts and Purpose Elementary / 1 hour / Classroom Students construct a paper vest to become a tree! Parts of the tree are taped on the vest and labeled.