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Green Guardians


3rd, 4th, 5th


Science, Social Studies, Biology, History, English Language Arts, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plan, 40 - 60 minutes each
  • Presentation Slides
  • Game
  • Worksheet
  • Video, 1 minute, 40 seconds, CC
  • Video, 1 minute, 53 seconds, CC
  • Video, 2 minutes, 2 seconds, CC
  • Video, 1 minute, 54 seconds, CC
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West


Google Docs, Google Slides, PDF, Microsoft Powerpoint

The Story of Nimbus Fish Hatchery

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  • This set of four lessons and additional resources details how building dams can impact fish populations and how one fish hatchery in California is acting to help endangered salmon survive.
  • Students will learn about the history of the Nimbus dam, why it was built, the journey of salmon during their life cycle, the importance of salmon as a keystone species, fish ladders, water pollution, how climate change affects fish populations, and what people can do to help endangered fish species.
Teaching Tips


  • This resource is incredibly detailed and includes everything needed in order to complete a small unit. 
  • It includes presentation slides with notes, worksheets, lesson plans, a family guide, engaging games, and videos. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have a basic understanding of how human activity impacts ecosystems and species. 
  • Teachers will need to make physical copies or digitally distribute worksheets for student completion. 
  • The links for the readings and audio clips in the slide presentations do not function.
  • The list of beach clean-ups to join is for California only, but you could have students sign up for stream clean-ups in their local area.


  • Connections can be made in health classes discussing sources of food or social studies classes learning about how human society impacts the environment. 
  • Consider chunking the lessons into smaller parts for younger students or classes who struggle with longer sessions.
  • Science classes can use this resource to introduce many ecology concepts including ecosystems, keystone species, predator-prey interactions, and habitat destruction or degradation.
  • Engineering classes can discuss the fish ladders, the design of the dams, and the infrastructure needed to transport water to other areas of California from the dams.
  • As an extension, have students write a reflection at the end of each session about their learning. 
Scientist Notes
This resource contains lessons for students to gain deep insights about the impact of climate change on salmon and other aquatic resources. Students will also get to understand the vulnerability levels of species in the Nimbus Fish Hatchery and other habitats and then develop solutions to mitigate the vulnerability caused by dams and climate change impacts. All materials have been thoroughly fact-checked, and this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 5-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • 3-LS1-1 Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • 5-LS2-1 Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • 3-LS4-3 Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: History
      • D2.His.14.3-5 Explain probable causes and effects of events and developments.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.2 Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.3 Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.5 Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.8 Describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence).
    • Reading: Literature (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.7 Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting).
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.3 Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.
    • Writing (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.4 With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.
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