Educational Curricula and Materials

The San Antonio River Authority (SARA) has many resources for educational needs regarding topics including the San Antonio River, water quality, watersheds and erosion. SARA also works closely with partner organizations to extend resources that can fit any classroom’s needs regarding aquatic science topics. All lessons and resources provided are TEKS-aligned.

The San Antonio River Authority Curriculum

These TEKS-aligned activities are the lessons and activities that SARA developed. The aim is to target a variety of river-centric topics, such as watersheds, nonpoint source pollution, erosion, water quality and runoff in a locally-relevant way. Lessons are grouped by the appropriate age group and often encompass multiple topics. Click here for charts outlining age groups and topics.

 

The engaging and STEM-related video (9 minutes) above discusses the ways that your students are connected to and impact the 240-mile San Antonio River and the endangered whooping crane that winters near the river’s terminus in San Antonio Bay. The video examines scientific research projects that demonstrate how aquatic and marine biologists use wildlife species in the river and bay as indicators of water quality. Students will learn how their voluntary actions can create a sustainable river resource for not only the wildlife but for everyone’s use into the future. Find video-based classroom activities for before and after viewing here and an assessment rubric here: SARA Video Activities  and Assessment Rubric

Resources by Topic

Watersheds

  • Build Your Own Watershed
    Learn how to create a very simple, yet educationally powerful, 3-dimensional watershed model with your students using foil and cups. 
    Click here to learn about these materials.
  • Texas Aquatic Science*: Chapter 3 – What is Your Watershed Address? Appropriate for middle school and high school students, this on-line tool offers an informative video, literature for both students and teachers, rigorous questions and teacher lesson plans.
    Click here to learn more about these materials.

Nonpoint Source Pollution

  • Stormwater Runoff and Pollutant Travel through Watersheds 
    Use this hands-on activity to model the distribution of pollutants across land and into our creeks and waterways.
    Click here to learn more about these materials.
  • Texas Aquatic Science*: Chapter 14 – Water for People and the Environment
    Appropriate for middle school and high school students, this online tool offers an informative video, literature for both students and teachers, rigorous questions and teacher lesson plans.
    Click here to learn more about these materials.
  • Be Watershed Wise! 
    Use these public service commercials and educational posters to showcase how a change in voluntary actions can create a healthier watershed and river. Perhaps have students create their own videos, public service announcements and posters that try to affect positive and informed choices in their community.
    Click here to learn more about these materials.

Water Quality

  • Water Quality Testing 
    In this hands-on activity, students will learn about how abiotic factors, such as pH, temperature, nitrates, and dissolved oxygen, are evaluated to assess water quality. They will also learn how land use and human activity in the watershed will alter these factors.
    Click here to learn more about these materials.
  • Water quality assessment using real-time data provided by SARA 
    Students will use the online and GIS-driven dataset and interactive map, using real data that is collected across the San Antonio River watershed to evaluate how rainfall, and other abiotic factors, relate to the overall health and water quality of the San Antonio River and its tributaries. Appropriate for high school students.
    Click here to learn more about these materials.
  • Collect and Assess Macroinvertebrates 
    Whether you go outside to a local creek or pond, or bring samples back to lab, this hands-on lesson asks students to identify the biotic factors, such as larval insects and small aquatic organisms, which can be evaluated to assess water quality.
    Click here to learn more about these materials.

Bays and Estuaries

  • Ins and Outs of the Estuary – Whooping Crane Dilemma 
    Students will interactively model changing conditions in an estuary and the consequences for fish or other organisms living in the estuary, through playing various roles as a whooping crane population.
    Click here to learn more about these materials.
  • Texas Aquatic Science*: Chapter 11 – Bays and Estuaries
    Appropriate for middle school and high school students, this online tool offers an informative video, literature for both students and teachers, rigorous questions and teacher lesson plans.
    Click here to learn more about these materials.
  • Estuaries in the Balance: The Texas Coastal Bend 
    A multimedia learning adventure that is an interactive journey following four key species in and near the San Antonio Bay – whooping cranes, blue crabs, oysters, and redfish. You will also investigate how humans can positively and negatively intersect with their fascinating world. Includes educational videos, interactive models, and teacher’s guide.
    Click here to learn more about these materials.
  • Whooping Crane Lessons 
    Whooping cranes are an important species of the San Antonio Bay and the estuary ecosystem at the mouth of the San Antonio River. To discover more about this endangered bird species and how humans play a role in their population with educational lessons and activities, visit the International Crane Foundation’s website.

Making Informed Decisions and Taking Action

  • TPWD Angler Education
    • TPWD Angler Education Instructors and trained volunteers may check out Angler Education Kits, tackle loaner kits and education materials. Please reserve materials two weeks prior to intended pick up date. To reserve materials, please fill out the Request A Presentation FormTPWD-Logo-e1435265362862

Volunteerism

  • SARA’s Watershed Wise Warriors are volunteers that serve as community defenders of the flora and fauna of the waterways. Warriors give of their time and energy to advance the sustainability of the watershed. Individuals 15 years and older may become one of SARA’s volunteers.
    Click here to learn how to volunteer. 
  • SARA’s Citizen Science Program is fun and important work for any age. Data collected using the online app iNaturalist on the flora and fauna along the river and around the San Antonio River watershed is important for monitoring the quality of the environment that leads to a healthy river. You can create a project around your campus or even a rain garden. Go to www.iNaturalist.org to learn more, locate San Antonio River projects and take part in this significant, yet simple, data collection. Contact SARA’s Education Specialist, Carrie Merson, for details through email at cmerson@sara-tx.org.

 

 

 

*Information courtesy of Texas Aquatic Science partners: Texas Parks and Wildlife, The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, and the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. More information at www.texasaquaticscience.org.