Green Engineering for Stormwater Solutions

Grade: Fifth
Duration: Four 1-hour CWC led campus visits and 3 short teacher-led activities (an optional field trip can replace one of the CWC led campus visits)
Location: Classroom and San Lorenzo River/local tributary

Materials and teaching provided free by the Coastal Watershed Council
Supported by generous funding from the County of Santa Cruz Green Schools Program, City of Santa Cruz, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Supports Next Generation Science Standards:
5-ESS2-1. Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact
5-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.

Complements FOSS Kit
Grade 5: Earth and Sun & Grade 5: Living Systems

Lesson Series Overview
How can we use the geosphere or biosphere to reduce stormwater runoff?
Through hands-on activities, discussions and reflections, students will discover the answer to this focus question. Students explore how the geosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere interact during stormwater runoff. Students will then examine how scientists and engineers design ways to stop stormwater runoff using the geosphere and biosphere. The program culminates with a student-led action project to reduce stormwater runoff and prevent pollution from entering storm drains.

Week 1
CWC-led activity:
Investigate storm drains and the concept of stormwater runoff
Supplemental teacher led activity: Examine how stormwater runoff occurs differently on permeable vs impermeable surfaces.

Week 2: 
CWC-led activity on school campus or field trip: Map out the flow of water from a storm drain to the San Lorenzo River, and discuss how trash and pollution follow this flow.
Supplemental teacher led activity: Identify areas on the school campus where stormwater runoff occurs.

Week 3: 
CWC-led activity on school campus or field trip: Examine rain gardens and permeable pavement as examples of green engineering practices to reduce stormwater runoff and begin preparation for action project.
Supplemental teacher led activity: continue preparation for action project

Week 4: 
CWC-led activity on school campus or field trip: Begin action project and celebrate accomplishments by being sworn in as Watershed Rangers
Supplemental teacher led activity: complete action project if additional time is needed

Click here to view the curriculum guide
Click here for the student journal
Click here for pre and post survey

Coastal Watershed Council Commitment to Education Equity
CWC is committed that every youth is supported, welcomed, included and championed as part of their education program. As such, CWC is seeking to incorporate culturally and linguistically responsive teaching and learning practices, principles of Universal Design for Learning, support mechanism for multi-lingual learners and wellness and mindfulness practices into each lesson. A number of activities are intentionally designed and set-up to validate, affirm and include all youth. We will also include some questions related to how we supported education equity into our teacher surveys. We welcome ideas, feedback, considerations as we continue to build more education equity.


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