March 2023

Beavers To The Rescue

Academic Standards



Reading Objective:

Students will identify ways that beaver dams can help stop erosion in creeks.


Reading Level:

Lexile: 510L; GRL: L


Next Generation Science Standards:

2-EES2-1: Solutions to slow or prevent wind and water from changing the shape of the land



creek, dam, sponge, erosion, lodge

Use these questions to check students’ understanding and stimulate discussion:


1.  What was the problem with Jay’s creek?
(It was drying up.)

2. What did beavers do on the creek when Jay was a kid?
(They built dams that slowed the water.)

3. How did fast water harm the creek? 
(It washed away soil that soaked up and held onto water.)

4. What steps did Jay use to solve his problem?
(Answers will vary.)

Go online to print or project the Reading Checkpoint.


  • Beavers are the biggest rodents in North America.
  • Their front teeth never stop growing. Beavers have to chew on wood to keep them trimmed.
  • Beavers slap their tails on the water to warn other beavers of danger.
  • Beavers have see-through eyelids that work like swim goggles to let them see under water.

Materials: low-sided trays or pans, sticks, leaves, small rocks, mud or air-dry clay, pencils, copies of the skill sheet

Overview: Groups of kids create a tiny “dam” in the center of a waterproof tray using sticks, mud, etc. They pour water to test it.


  1. Before the lesson, gather enough trays and dam-building materials for each group of 3-5 kids. Set them up at workstations. Have water nearby that kids can pour.
  2. To start the lesson, remind kids that beavers are engineers! They use materials they find in nature to build a dam that blocks or slows water in a creek.
  3. Divide kids into groups. Give each child a skill sheet. Tell them it’s their turn to make a dam that blocks or slows down water.
  4. Send kids to the workstations. Let them start building dams in the center of their trays.
  5. When the dams are done, pour in water. Repair as needed! Record results on the skill sheet