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Sixth Grade Science Resources


Scientific Investigation, Reasoning and Logic

Each of the sixth grade science standards include an investigative component. Those curriculum supplements that contain extensive investigative lessons focusing on a variety of skills are denoted with an “*”.

As a matter of course, sixth grade teachers should contact their city or county public works or utilities department or water authority, parks & recreation department, Virginia Cooperative Extension unit office (including 4-H Youth programs and Master Gardeners) garden clubs, Soil and Water Conservation District and any Friends (of the closest major river) or other recognized environmental organizations as to whether they offer water or other environmental educational materials or programs appropriate for middle school audiences.

Force, Motion and Energy

  • *Project Learning Tree’s Energy & Society Kit : provides educators with tools and activities to help students in grades PreK-8 learn about their relationship with energy and investigate the environmental issues related to energy’s role in society. Energy and Society helps students develop critical thinking skills to make decisions about their personal energy use. In addition to hands-on activities, the program integrates music and dance to enhance the study of energy issues. Materials in the Energy & Society kit include an educator’s guide, Energy & Me music CD (a collection of 15 energy-related songs from singer/songwriter Billy B), dance video and a series of posters. In Virginia, a limited number of kits are provided by grant funding each year in conjunction with Project Learning Tree workshops.
  • *The Museum of Solid Waste & Energy, published by The NEED Project, is a project based cooperative learning activity. Educator’s booklet is available at
  • Dominion Power’s “Energized Programs:” field trips and outreach programs offered by the North Anna and Surry Nuclear Power Plants. Sixth grade options include the “Energy Sources” program (on the transformation of energy to electrical generation, renewable and nonrenewable energy sources and the importance of energy conservation) and “Nuclear Energy and the Environment” (basic operation of a power plant, including the nuclear safety, fission and the handling and proper storage of used fuel.).
  • Science Museum of Virginia: in Richmond is home to hundreds of interactive science exhibits, Ethyl IMAX Dome (the largest movie screen in the state) and Planetarium and the Carpenter Science Theatre Company. Teacher workshops and lecture series relating to astronomy, space technology, electricity, energy and weather and other topics are offered periodically. A variety of educational publications and theatre scripts are available for purchase.

Quick Links to Resources

Window into a Green Virginia addresses Virginia’s Science SOLs with emphasis on 6.9 – Resources, and includes cross references to other Mathematics and Social Studies SOLs. 

Project WET



  • *Project WET is a nationally developed, comprehensive water education program for teachers and non-formal educators. The majority of the lessons contained in the educator’s guide book are specifically designed or can be easily adapted to upper elementary and middle school audiences. Includes background information and lessons related to atmospheric, surface and ground water, cultural and historical uses of water and contemporary water management issues such as non-point source pollution.
  • The Water Sourcebook: Grades 6-8 is a comprehensive curriculum published by Water Environment & Reuse Federation  that includes extensive background information, lesson plans and activities and suggestions for student action projects. Chapters are devoted to Introduction to Water, Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment, Surface Water Resources, Groundwater Resources and Wetlands. Visit or call WERF.

Living Systems, Life Processes & Resources

  • *Project WET’s Healthy Water Healthy People Educators Guide: contains a series of engaging classroom activities that prepare students for field investigations focusing on water quality and watersheds. The curriculum contains demonstrations, experiments, games, problem solving scenarios and research projects related to basic water chemistry, water quality parameters, chemical and biological monitoring techniques, nonpoint source pollution sources and natural resource management issues. Lessons and activities may be used before or after a field experience as part of a comprehensive unit of study that appeals to all types of learners and meets the criteria sent forth in the statewide Meaningful Watershed Education Experience (MWEE) initiative.
  • It's Our Air: Exploring Air Pollution Sources and Solutions Exploring Air Pollution Sources and Solutions is an interactive curriculum developed by Clean Air Partners that engages 6th graders in the exploration of air pollution topics and climate change.(I)
  • “Cooking up Great Conservation Education Programs: A How-To Manual of Ideas, Activities and Projects” is available free from the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Ideas for stations for festivals and field days and an extensive section on ground water, cave and stream models is included. The state website map enables teachers to locate their local Soil and Water Conservation District which may have additional educational programs and/or curriculum materials.
  • *Meaningful Outdoor Watershed Experiences 6th Grade Curriculum: Produced under a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund, this curriculum consists of lesson plans, student worksheets and power point slide shows for five classroom presentations designed to prepare students for an outdoor stream or watershed experience. The five classroom units are Watershed Concepts, The Virtual Watershed Tour, Biological Stream Monitoring and Visual Stream Assessment. All the materials can be adapted and printed to suit any watershed, school or class within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. For more information, email
  • *Wonders of Wetlands Educator’s Guide, produced through a partnership between Environmental Concern Inc. and Project WET USA, includes numerous upper elementary and middle school lessons related to wetland systems and more general water quality issues. Wetland delineation activities, plant and soil investigations, and instructions for assembling inexpensive watershed, wetland and groundwater models are included.
  • "Virginia State Parks and Natural Area Preserves: Your Backyard Classrooms ” is a K-12 field based curriculum developed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation with support and coordination by a variety of other agencies to show how individual state parks and natural preserve areas are well suited for student investigations. Activities are hands-on, correlated to the Virginia Standards of Learning and cover a variety of subjects. Information on both the history and unique natural features of each park or preserve area is included to help plan your visit.
  •  Aquatic WILD K-12 Guide and Schoolyard Habitats includes several lessons on the biotic components of aquatic communities and watersheds and how environmental changes impact aquatic organisms. Recently revised Aquatic WILD guide includes STEM and field investigations.  Schoolyard habitat program focuses on the development of wildlife habitats and outdoor classrooms on school grounds. The curriculum includes several investigative lessons related to water as a component of habitat, water elements in landscape design and smaller aquatic communities. Both curricula are available for free at workshops sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. For more information on Project WILD Aquatic contact Suzie Gilley at  Contact Carol Heiser at for habitat information.
  • Chesapeake Bay Foundation: provides  a comprehensive range of services including summer courses, curriculum, field trips, student action projects and an on-line Bay resource library. CBF conducts field trips along most of its major tributaries. Among the most popular in Virginia are the Skipjack cruises on the Bay and in Hampton Roads on the Elizabeth River and Canoe Rigs in several saltwater marsh areas and on smaller tributaries such as the Rivanna River (James River Watershed). Teachers participating in field trips receive an extensive packet of lesson plans and suggested action projects to enrich the unit of study.
  • Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: builds partnerships and consensus to protect and restore the Bay. Of particular interest to sixth grade teachers are the Bayscapes publications which include fact sheets on water conservation and establishing schoolyard habitat among other topics. You can sign up to receive a free subscription the Bay Journal, (a comprehensive periodical devoted to Chesapeake Bay problems, issues and progress to date).
  • Shenandoah National Park ’s Watersheds Program: Designed for sixth grade, this program includes both classroom activities and field study in Shenandoah National Park, headquartered in Luray (Page County). Within the park’s boundaries, are the headwaters for three of Virginia’s major watershed systems. The panoramic views at SNP’s overlooks provide students with a unique opportunity to view and discuss the patterns of surrounding watersheds. Through study and observation of a mountain stream, they increase their understanding of the dynamics of stream life and the far-reaching impacts of water management and usage. For more information contact the SNP Education Office at 540-999-3489.  

Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems

  • NASA Langley ’s Educator Resource Center at Virginia Air & Space Center : provides free instructional information, materials, consultation and training workshops on NASA educational products. Using a subject/grade level approach, educators who visit the Educator Resource Center in Hampton receive standards-based educational products that include NASA’s cutting-edge research in science, mathematics and technology.
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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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