VLAWMO is available to support the use of raingardens and native plantings as creative, practical, and useful educational tools. While these features apply to science standards, their use can also benefit arts, health and wellness, and service learning. Together, we can create custom education plans that best fit your school community. The following are draft lesson plans developed with assistance through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, neighboring watersheds, and local educators. For more information, comments, or for assistance in planning an activity at your school, contact VLAWMO at (651) 204-6070.


Raingarden cards are designed to either enhance the accessibility of an existing raingarden or model the process of planting a raingarden. The cards may serve as a tool for a large group activity focused on planting, or an individual field journal exercise. 

Raingarden Cards - Lesson

Raingarden Cards - Part 1

Raingarden Cards - Part 2


Field Journal Tips

Field Journal Sample



Join VLAWMO at the Sucker Lake Channel (just south of hwy 96) for a hands-on day of field science. VLAWMO staff guides students in sampling macroinvertebrates (water bugs) in the channel, identifying them, and using the data to assess the health of the water. Students gain skills in ecology, land use, field biology, gathering data, and analyzing data to form conclusions. VLAWMO provides all materials including nets, sampling supplies, ID charts, calculators, and dry erase markers. Contact VLAWMO to organize this adventure-filled field trip. 

Activity best suits groups of 18-24, age 4th grade and up. 


Where is water draining to? How much runoff is generated on your schoolyard during a rain event? How do the experts calculate this runoff? Here, students think like landscape designers and engineers to observe runoff patterns, plan stormwater best management practices (BMP's), or estimate runoff and pollutant loads on the schoolyard. For these activities, VLAWMO will partner with your school to generate the custom maps and pinpoint key information (soil type, land use data, etc.) for the lesson to be a success. Contact VLAWMO to plan this activity at your school. 

Runoff Mapping - Lesson 

Runoff Mapping - BMP cards

Runoff Mapping - Map sample


Stormwater Runoff Calculation - Lesson

Stormwater Runoff Calculation - Worksheet

Runoff Assistance - Spreadsheet


Pollutant Calculation - Lesson 

Pollutant Calculation - Worksheet


Seasonal monitoring and maintenance keep raingardens serving as an asset to school communities. Not only does this keep them presentable for schoolyard beautification, but also functional for collecting, cleaning, and storing stormwater. VLAWMO is here to support your school in maintaining your raingarden or native planting. Once maintenance is established as a routine class activity, the raingarden offers opportunities in art, science, community service, or team building. 

Raingarden maintenance - Lesson

Custom school guide to raingarden maintenance (example)


The Watersheds through music activity is a creative approach to how the many parts of the watershed interact. Using percussive music instruments and basic rhythms, students engage in a creative soundscape that challenges listening skills and adaptability. With each instrument representing a piece of the watershed (lakes, streams, parking lots, buildings, etc.), students make their own unique "watershed" by striving to create something that sounds cohesive. But sometimes it doesn't sound cohesive - taking both the harmony and dissonance from the activity, the experience is extrapolated to real life. How can the parts of the watershed work more harmoniously together? 

Watersheds Through Music - Lesson 



VLAWMO is a proud partner of Northland NEMO in hosting the watershed game.

For a less formal activity focused on the concepts of watersheds, water quality, and community decision making, VLAWMO hosts a role play simulation for all ages. Students read from a script and are given realistic dilemmas based on land use, industry, and recreation, that all impact the watershed in their own ways. Each role in the script is provided with a prop, and a container of water in the middle of the room represents the watershed. Contaminants are either added or subtracted based on individual actions in response to their dilemmas. What will the water quality be after everyone's made their actions? Resulting discussion brainstorms how we could have worked together for a better outcome, as well as how and why this happens in real life. 


Other resources for students and teachers


2016 Annual Report now available!
VLAWMO's 2016 Annual Report is now available in digital form, and will soon be available a…

Goose-Wilkinson RFP
VLAWMO is issuing a Request for Proposal for potential projects on the Goose Lakes and Wil…


Schools within VLAWMO's watershed boundary have the unique opportunity to work directly with VLAWMO staff on class visits, lesson plans, and planning cost-share efforts to install stormwater features on school grounds. Schools in the VLAWMO watershed are: 

Birch Lake Elementary, Chippewa Middle School, Lincoln Elementary, Lakaires Elementary, Vadnais Lake Elementary - Frassati Academy, Liberty Academy - AFSA High School, Children's Discovery, Oak Grove Knowledge Beginnings, and White Bear Montessori.