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Outreach and Education

Teaching about the environment can be fun for both educators and students. We developed lesson plans for various grade levels on a wide range of air quality, water quality, and waste management topics to assist teachers in providing environmental education.

Our staff are also available to conduct outreach events upon request. Learn about our classroom and outdoor activities on our outreach request form.

  • General
  • Air Quality
  • Water Quality
  • Waste Management
  • lClean Air Zone: Putting it to the Test (Lesson Plan: 7th - 12th grades)
    Students bring the anti-idling Clean Air Zone program into schools and study its effects.
  • Earth Cleaning: Dusting the Air  (Lesson Plan: 4th - 8th grades)
    Students make "dust catchers" to collect particulate pollution around their school.
  • Inversion in a Cup (Lesson Plan: 4th - 8th grades)
    Students create a temperature inversion and observe how cold air becomes trapped and how pollutants can become trapped with that cold air.
  • Smoke Detectives (Lesson Plan: 4th - 7th grades)
    Students observe air quality conditions in their town to investigate the link between air quality and wood smoke.
  • When a Car Coughs...Taking a Close Look at Vehicle Exhaust (Lesson Plan: 7th - 9th grades)
    Students capture particulate pollution from vehicle exhaust and compare results among vehicles.

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An understanding of the basic concepts of ground water is key to understanding how the RPA works.  The study of ground water is called hydrogeology. Hydrogeology investigates how water occurs and moves through the earth.

Elementary School Curriculum

The elementary school aquifer education curriculum contains a number of lesson plans and animations.

The animations are also available on CD from DEQ’s RPA coordinator. Also included is a suggested materials list.

At the end of each lesson plan is a certificate of achievement that the teacher may sign and award to the student after he/she has successfully completed the lesson. After all lessons have been completed, a diploma designating the student as an “Apprentice Hydrogeologist” may be awarded. Download the diploma below; contact DEQ’s RPA hydrogeologist to have the diploma signed by DEQ staff.

St. Joe River Drainage Lesson Plans and Videos

Lesson NameLesson PlanAnimation Format
#1 Hydrologic CycleWhere does water come from, and where does it go?Video Link
#2 Ground WaterHow does water under the earth’s surface move?Video Link
#3 Drinking WaterWhere does my drinking water come from?Video Link
#4 Ground Water ContaminationWhat is ground water contamination?Video Link
#5 Aquifer Simulation ModelWhat will the ground water do? 

St. Maries River Drainage Lesson Plans

Lesson NameLesson Plan
#1 Darcy’s LawDarcy’s Law – How does water move through an aquifer?
A permeameter is needed for this exercise and is available for loan to teachers at the DEQ Coeur
d’Alene Regional Office.
#2 Ground Water ContoursGround Water Contours – How do we determine ground water flow direction and gradient?
#3 ContaminantsWhat is ground water contamination? Group A) (Group B) – Contaminant Fate and Transport Spreadsheet
#4 Ground WaterWhat does my water have in it? – If your school is within the Kootenai County
Aquifer Protection District boundaries (over the RPA or contributing watersheds), the materials and
analytical costs may be provided at no cost. See contact information at right.

Take a Quiz

Test your knowledge about the Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer.

Note to Teachers

The lesson plans and animations are provided to help teachers with aquifer education. Training for teachers in using the lesson plans and aquifer simulation model is available. If your school is located within the Kootenai County Aquifer Protection District fee boundaries, you may be eligible to receive the materials and aquifer simulation model at no charge. Contact DEQ’s RPA hydrogeologist for additional information.

  • Conduct a Mercury Audit in Your School (Lesson Plan: 8th - 12th grades)
    Students conduct an audit to determine what mercury-containing items exist in their school.
  • Doing the "Three R" Wrap (Lesson Plan: 4th - 7th grades)
    Students wrap gifts and learn how to eliminate, reduce, reuse, and recycle waste.
  • Making a Mini-Landfill (Lesson Plan: 4th - 7th grades)
    Students build landfills, learn about environmental issues surrounding landfills, and discuss actions they can take to keep waste out of landfills.
  • Pollution Prevention in the Laboratory (Fact Sheet)
  • Recycling Relay (Lesson Plan: Pre-K - 3rd grades)
    Students learn about trash and landfills, and how to reuse and recycle to produce less trash.
  • Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Reused? (Lesson Plan: 4th - 12th grades)
    Through interviews with older Americans and/or individuals from different cultural backgrounds, students gain an understanding of how the concepts of reduce, reuse, and recycle are neither new nor specific to American culture.
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