Middle & High School Curriculum

Education at the Tijuana River NERR

Tijuana Estuary High School Teacher’s Guide – Grades 6-12

Next TOTE Training (blended): Oct. 27 & 28 (3:00-5:30pm, virtual) & Nov. 9 (8:30-4:00pm, in the field)
Reserve Your Spot Today – Register Here.

Next Climate TOTE Training: TBD (click for 2018 flyer)
Reserve Your Spot Today – Register Here

Please call 619-575-3613 ext.304 or 306 to inquire about and be notified of upcoming trainings. The annual Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) training generally takes place in May, here is a draft agenda for the TOTE training.

The Tijuana Estuary High School Teachers’ Guide is an interdisciplinary high school curriculum designed to educate students about the valuable Tijuana River Estuary natural and cultural resources. It was developed to align to State Content Standards and it is the only field-based estuary science high school program in the County. To learn how to reserve a field trip, please open the section below titled Field Trip Activities.

The target audience of the Tijuana Estuary High School Teachers’ Guide are the biology, ecology, marine science, English, and art students and teachers in San Diego County, especially South Bay.

NEW! – Interdisciplinary History Social Studies and Science 11th grade field trip to Border Field. See Field Trip Activities link below for more details.

To complement the Tijuana Estuary High School Teachers’ Guide, we recommend using our national program’s Estuaries 101 Curriculum. Estuaries 101, the new on-line science curriculum from NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System, provides powerful ways for students to learn fundamental concepts in science and develop scientific thinking skills, as well as explore the nation’s biologically rich and economically important estuaries. From flying over an estuary with “Google Maps” to tracking the path and impact of a hurricane, Estuaries 101 modules feature hands-on learning, experiments, field-based activities and data explorations.


The Curriculum

The following pdf files make up the Tijuana Estuary High School Teachers’ Guide, they include both the chapters and lesson plans to be done in the classroom and also the field trip guide for programs done here at the Reserve which are based upon the knowledge gained in the classroom portions of the teacher’s guide. Please be sure to read the introduction first to get a better understanding of how to use this curriculum:


Introduction & Chapters      

Ecology Lessons

  1. Graphing San Diego Tides
  2. Measuring Water Quality
  3. Biotic vs. Abiotic
  4. Primary Producers
  5. Food Webs
  6. Construct a Virtual Habitat
  7. Plotting Water Quality Data

Geology Lessons

  1. Constructing a Set of Soil Sieves
  2. Determine Soil Particle Size
  3. Determining the Percolation Rate of Soil
  4. Settling Rates of Different Size Particles
  5. Understanding Topographic Maps
  6. Mapping the Sea Floor



History Lessons      

  1. Timeline of Tijuana Estuary Populations
  2. Camping Near the Estuary – May 13, 1769
  3. Historical Figures Report
  4. Border Field Simulation (3.74MB)
  5. Go Fish!

Language Arts Lessons

  1. Reading About Estuaries
  2. Writing About Estuaries
  3. Why Do People Write About the Estuary?

Human Use Lessons

  1. Should We Build On the Estuary?
  2. Marine Oil Spills
  3. What You Can Do For the Estuary?
  4. What the Tijuana Estuary Does For You
  5. Design a Service-Learning Activity

Field Trip & Additional Resources


Transportation Grants

Limited transportation reimbursements are currently available for schools who currently cannot attend the Reserve’s free, high quality environmental education programs due to lack of transportation funds.  Teachers must have attended a training at the Reserve.  Please complete the request form and contact Anne Marie Tipton for details if you are interested, annemarie.tipton(at)parks.ca.gov or (619) 575-3613, ext. 304.