Helpful Plants

Grade: First Grade
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: 
1-LS1-1. Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs.
K-2-ETS1-1: Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.

Complements FOSS Kit
First Grade: Plants and Animals

Lesson Series Overview:
How can plants stop pollution from entering the San Lorenzo River?
Through hands-on activities, discussions and reflections, students will discover the answer to this focus question. Students will examine the problem of pollution and how plants help filter out pollution before it enters the San Lorenzo River. Students will learn about how humans copy plants to help solve human problems like pollution. The program culminates with a student-led action project to help stop pollution.

Week 1
CWC led activity:
Using a watershed model, observe how pollution impacts a river.
Supplemental teacher led activity: Make observations of pollution on school campus via a scavenger hunt.

Week 2: 
CWC led activity on school campus or field trip: Investigate how plants can filter out pollution.
Supplemental teacher led activity: Identify one area on school campus where there is a lot of pollution and brainstorm what they can do to help reduce the pollution.

Week 3: 
CWC led activity on school campus or field trip: Introduce concept of biomimicry as a means of creating solutions to stop pollution 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 full curriculum guide   Click here to download the student journal

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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