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Walk on the Watershed:No Child Left Inside

By Susan Foshay
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"Why is water important in our lives?"
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Grade Level: 5

Curriculum Areas:
Focus: Science
Secondary: Technology, History/Social Science, Fine Arts

Topic:
Watersheds and Water Resources

Theme:
environmental education and stewardship

Duration:
16 weeks
Summary
Fifth grade students will participate in an interdisciplinary study of the Sonoma Valley watershed. Through a collaborative project with the Sonoma Ecology Center and CIESE, students will study the environmental and cultural importance of their watershed, explore local wetlands history, water use, and the water cycle. Field trips, including the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, will provide outdoor science investigations and an online collaborative project will share their water study with students throughout the world.

Rationale
Environmental Education, the study of the relationships between dynamic natural and human systems, is being ignored due to the pressures of high-stakes testing. As a result, science curricula are narrowing and there is an increasing environmental literacy gap. The health of our planet relies on the science literacy of its citizens. Everyone lives in a watershed and everyone affects the water quality in a watershed. When students participate in field-based science education, incorporating technology, they discover a vehicle to link science inquiry and environmental stewardship to their everyday lives. Environmental education is inherently interdisciplinary, and bridges socio-economic and language gaps, providing science equity for all students.