H A N F O R D  &  T H E  R I V E R  C U R R I C U L U M

High School Environmental Science

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Columbia Riverkeeper is proud to introduce Hanford & the River Curriculum for high school science classes in Washington State.  This curriculum allows teachers and students to explore Hanford and the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River through the site’s history, ecology, and impacts on human health and the environment.  Lesson Plans, Teacher’s Guides, and Student Worksheets are included along with primary documents and supplemental materials to help facilitate student learning.

Following Washington State’s Environmental and Sustainability Learning Standards, the lessons are based on an inquiry approach: engaging students in known and unknown science concepts; having them explore and investigate; reflecting and explaining their thinking and reasoning; applying and extending their new knowledge.

Teachers can use this curriculum in a variety of ways.  Use a handful of documents to supplement existing readings and lesson plans, or create a new teaching unit lasting anywhere from a day to a week.  A pdf is available for each lesson plan below, just click on the underlined links.

Lesson 1:  Hanford History & Ecology

Students will learn why the U.S. government chose Hanford as a location for plutonium production, identify ecosystem and habitats at Hanford, and explain why Hanford is an important resource for threatened or endangered species.

Lesson 2:  Hanford’s Pollution & Risks

Students will learn how Hanford’s waste could impact human health and the environment, how to identify historic and current sources of pollution at Hanford, and how wastes enter the environment and the Columbia River.

Lesson 3:  Making Environmental Decisions

Students will learn how to evaluate costs, risks, and benefits of cleanup, read about the different stakeholders involved in the cleanup efforts, and understand how cleanup choices affect the long-term health of the Columbia River and downstream communities.