Salmon - Science in Parks


General Description

The story of pacific salmon and steelhead is one of survival and conservation. During the course of this unit students will explore different habitat components that are critical for salmon survival, the results of human impact, and current conservation efforts. Students will analyze scientific data collected to evaluate the health of a salmon habitat.

This unit provides two in-class lessons where students will become scientists and analyze data and address real world situations. The third lesson is a live, interactive videoconference from Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park with a State Park Interpreter. The interpreter will converse with your students live from the bank of Prairie Creek about the habitat of pacific salmon, and the current work of scientists to protect salmon and restore damaged habitat.

Essential Questions

What are the components of an ideal salmon nesting habitat?

What impacts have human activity had on salmon habitat?

How do scientists determine the health of an ecosystem?

Academic Content Standard Subject Area


Grade Level

Middle School (adaptable for other grade levels)

Primary Common Core State Standards

English/Language Arts

RST.6-8.1, RST.6-8.2, RST.6-8.7, WHST.6-8.2, WHST.6-8.9, SL.8.1.a-d, SL.8.5


6.SP.2, 6.SP.4

Primary Next Generation Science Standards

MS-LS1-5, MS-LS2-1, MS-LS2-4, MS-LS2-5, MS-ESS3-3, MS-ETS1-1

Time Required

2 In Class Lessons (30-45 minutes each)

1 Videoconference Lesson (60 minutes)


Through classroom lessons and participating in the videoconference, students will be able to:

  • Identify the characteristics of salmon habitat and the effects of human activity.
  • Design a method for monitoring and minimizing human impact on salmon habitat.
  • Analyze data to predict the health of a salmon habitat and population.


Lesson 1: Watersheds

Lesson 2: Data and Monitoring

Lesson 3: Salmon Program - Videochat with a Ranger