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Eco-Science Program at Your School

Program Overview

The content of this interactive, hands-on learning program focuses on water quality, watershed awareness and stream ecology with an emphasis on local ecosystems. A team of environmental educators deliver a four hour program at your school.

Lessons are taught in five rotations following an introductory address to the group. Each rotation has a specific learning objective aligned with state standards in the context of California’s Environmental Principles and Concepts.


Learning levels:  Appropriate for grades 3, 4, 5.


Program Rotations and Content

  1. Watershed Model:  We all live in a watershed.  Students run an interactive model to understand the concept of a watershed.  They create rain events and discover what happens to pollutants that enter the environment from common sources.
  2. pH and Water Testing:  Students learn about pH and why it’s so important to the health of streams, estuaries and oceans. Harmful inputs into the watershed can alter the pH of our waterways making them unsafe for aquatic life. Students test samples from local water sources for their pH levels, and then test common household products to see how they compare.
  3. Plankton Lab:  Many students are surprised to learn that a few drops of water from a healthy stream may be teaming with microscopic plants and animals known as plankton.  Working with water samples from local waterways, they use microscopes to observe and identify these tiny organisms.
  4. Steelhead Social Game:  The southern steelhead trout is an endangered species.  Being able to carry out its life cycle in different environments (freshwater and ocean) makes this native species unique and charismatic. Students morph into steelhead in this exciting game to learn about the life cycle of this amazing fish.
  5. Food Web Activity:  An ecosystem is made up of an assemblage of living and non-living elements that interact within a given area. Forming a community of interdependent species, students become the food web of an aquatic ecosystem. As the web unwinds, they learn how impacts in one area reverberate through the entire system.

Program Cost:

This program is designed to allow participation from all classes in one grade level (a grade cohort) at the same time, or several classes from one cohort. For example, all 4th-graders at a given school will be divided into smaller groups and participate together. The program may accommodate 50 to 125 students.  Per-student cost may range from $6 to $12, depending on total class size and travel expenses to the school.


For more information contact the Education Supervisor at rcdsmm.edu@gmail.com