Teach the Columbia

Welcome to Teach The Columbia!

Teach The Columbia (TTC) is a curriculum package meant to help educators engage their students with many dimensions of the Columbia River watershed — past, present, and future.

Wildsight hopes to support a future in which more and more Basin residents are knowledgeable about the watershed they live in, and the issues affecting it. For over a decade, we have administered and delivered the Columbia Basin Trust program, Know Your Watershed, for middle school students. This program encourages students to learn where their water comes from, how it is used in their community, and how we are all connected in the Columbia Basin.

Teach The Columbia was inspired by the Columbia River Field School program, our 15-day, Board Approved and accredited field course. While we believe it is important to offer this immersive experience to keen Basin youth, we also know that many more students should have an opportunity to learn about these important topics. 

Teach The Columbia (TTC)  is primarily intended for high school students, but includes lesson extensions suitable for college courses as well. It currently includes 11 lesson plans split into four different cross-curricular modules, which can be accessed and downloaded for free. The lessons are intended to be flexible and adaptable; use all eleven or pick and choose individual lessons. Each lesson includes an overview, guiding questions, learning goals, materials and suggested preparation, detailed instructions, an appendix, BC curriculum links, and optional extensions.

Topics support content and curricular competencies from the following courses, along with opportunities for development of core competencies and thematic integration with other subject areas: 

Science 9
Science 10
Social studies 10
Social studies 11
Earth Science 11
Environmental Science 11
Human Geography 12
Physical Geography 12

Module 1: Geography and History of the Columbia River Basin

1-1: Columbia River Basin maps and geography

1-2: Journeys through the Columbia River Basin

1-3: A Columbia River historical timeline

Module 2: Columbia River Ecology

2-1: River ecology: How do natural river ecosystems work?

2-2: Rivers, wetlands, and ecosystem services

Module 3: Dams and Development on the Columbia River

3-1: Mechanics and economics of dams

3-2: Environmental impacts of dams

3-3: Social and cultural impacts of dammed rivers

Module 4: What is the future of the Columbia River Basin?

4-1: Mock renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty (coming soon)

4-2: Governance and reconciliation

4-3: Citizen engagement

We hope you will find these lessons to be fun and impactful for you and your students! Please contact us with your feedback; we are expecting to revise and expand the curriculum later in 2022.

Please fill out the Teach The Columbia Google Form Survey with your comments and questions, or contact Ali Giesbrecht

Wildsight thanks Ambler Mountain Works, the Arjay R. and Frances F. Miller Foundation, BC Hydro, the Columbia Basin Trust, the Columbia Power Corporation, the Province of BC, the Real Estate Foundation of BC, the Royal Bank of Canada, School District 8, and the Recreational Canoe Association of BC for making the Columbia River Field School and Teach the Columbia possible.


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Want to protect wildlife, clean water and wild spaces? Volunteer with us! Wildsight volunteers are a very special group of people who give generously of their time to stuff envelopes, attend rallies, help run events, put up posters, keep tabs on forestry practices in their communities and participate in citizen science initiatives.