Changing Hudson Project

The Changing Hudson Project curriculum was developed by scientists and educators at Cary to help students understand how the Hudson River changes over time. By collaborating with teachers, scientists, and management agencies, the curriculum has grown to include a wide range of topics that engage students with visualizations, readings, investigations, and actual scientific data.

The Basics: Land Use & Water Quality


Students will know how land use affects water quality and be able to compare results from two different types of aquatic ecosystems. 

Lesson Overview
  1. Students determine which aquatic ecosystems to study (one with 0-10% impervious surfaces, and one with more than 30% impervious surface) and create hypotheses about their water quality based on observed land use. 
  2. Students obtain aerial photos of the study site, and/or conduct a land use survey on foot. 
  3. Students complete water quality study at two different sites, compile and discuss results. 
Two 45-minute lessons
Classroom, aquatic ecosystem
  • Metersticks
  • Measuring tape
  • Thermometers (air and water)
  • Ping pong or tennis ball
  • Stopwatch
  • Waders or appropriate shoes
  • Dissecting trays, tweezers, nets to observe benthic material (optional)
  • Test kits for DO, phosphates, nitrates, pH, chloride and other appropriate tests
  • Goggles, gloves
  • Data sheets-separate sheets for ponds/lakes, streams/rivers, macroinvertebrates and water chemistry

The full lesson plan, including all lesson resources, is located in the Changing Hudson Project unit titled "The Hudson Valley: A Social - Ecological System" and can be accessed here:

NYS Standards
MST 1 - Mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design
MST 3- Mathematics in real-world settings
MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science
Benchmarks for Science Literacy
1B Scientific Inquiry
2A Patterns and Relationships
2B Mathematics, Science and Technology
4C Processes that shape the earth
4G Forces of Nature
11C Constancy and Change
12B Computation and Estimation
12C Manipulation and Observation
12D Communication Skills

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