Preferred language: English

Columbia Slough Watershed Council


Classroom Lessons

Slough School provides classroom lessons tailored to fit the learning objectives of a specific group or classroom. We can combine programs to create a specific unit of interest.

Habitats of Oregon

What makes up a habitat? Food, Water, Shelter, Oxygen, and Space! Explore habitats of Oregon and the Columbia Slough watershed through hands-on activities. What animals find what they need to survive on Oregon’s Coast? Valley Ponds? Mountains? Desert? Students will select an animal from the Columbia Slough Watershed and draw it in its habitat.

Core Ideas: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

Crosscutting Concepts: Stability & Change :: Cause & Effect


Erosion is: The movement of soil! Weathering breaks, and erosion TAKES. Students will investigate soil up close with lenses, examine how plants can affect erosion, and measure turbidity of water with sediment in it. What can we do to stop erosion?

Core Ideas: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics :: Motion and stability: Forces and interactions :: Matter and its interactions :: Earth’s systems :: Earth and human activity

Crosscutting Concepts: Stability & Change :: Cause & Effect :: Planning and carrying out investigations

Practices: Constructing explanations and designing solutions :: Asking questions and defining problems,

Animal Adaptations

An adaptation is something an animal has or does that helps it survive in its environment. Discuss how animals have adapted to their specific environment. Identify the adaptations of birds, mammals and fish. Examine pelts, skulls and specimens of animals who live near the Columbia Slough.

Core Ideas: Inheritance and Variation of Traits: Life Cycles and Traits :: Natural Selection and Adaptations :: Structure, Function, and Information Processing

Crosscutting Concepts: Structure and Function :: Patterns :: Planning and carrying out investigations

Practices: Constructing explanations and designing solutions :: Asking questions and defining problems :: Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Aquatic Macroinvertebrates

What do aquatic organisms tell us about water quality? Through specimens and slides, learn about aquatic invertebrates and their adaptations.

NGSS 1st Grade: 1.Structure, Function, and Information Processing

NGSS 2nd Grade: LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans: There are many different kinds of living things in any area, and they exist in different places on land and in water.

Groundwater, Porosity, and Permeability

The Columbia Slough Watershed sits right on top of Portland’s secondary source of drinking water, the Columbia South Shore Well Field! Learn how local geology affects our groundwater system. Using an interactive model, discover how local choices affect groundwater safety. How much energy does it take to move water against gravity?

NGSS Middle School: ESS2.A: Earth’s Materials and Systems, ESS3.A: Natural Resources

Riparian Zones and Native vs Invasive Plants

What is a Riparian Zone? It’s the Land By the Water! Students will differentiate native and invasive plants and how they both affect water quality and habitat. What’s the difference between herbs, trees, and shrubs? Students will get to identify plant samples with field guides.

NGSS 5th Grade: LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

Water Quality

Students observe, use units, interpret data and form hypotheses as they measure the temperature, pH, turbidity and dissolved oxygen of water samples taken from a local field site.

Watershed Model

What is a Watershed?

Water + Gravity + Land = A watershed. Learn about watersheds and sources of pollution through historical and current maps, drawing, and a watershed model.

NGSS 5th Grade: PS2.B: Types of Interactions: The gravitational force of Earth acting on an object near Earth’s surface pulls that object toward the planet’s center.

NGSS Middle School: ESS2.C: The Roles of Water in Earth’s Surface Processes

If you are interested in creating a plan of study with the Slough School, contact:

Jennifer Starkey, Education Director
Phone: (503) 281-1132