Third grade students make the best first grade teachers!

Written by Joanna Hoffman, Program Manager

“Usually I’m shy, but today my voice was strong!” third grade student Adrian from Berkeley Arts Magnet (BAM) Elementary School proudly exclaimed. BAM students in Berkeley took responsibility for the health of their watershed by spreading the word about plastic pollution. Kimberley was very excited to be a role model to the first graders. “It was cool to teach the first graders. They really seemed to understand that trash from our streets ends up in the bay through the storm drain system. I taught them that!” After the third grade “teachers” explained their hand-made colorful posters, they led their first grade buddies in a trash clean-up project. Altogether the classes picked up 632 pieces of trash from their schoolyard. “This is really important work,” shared Lina. “Now the first graders can spread the news and those people can spread the news and so on and everyone can help the watershed! Hopefully one day we can all live in a plastic pollution free world!”

Experimenting with Creek Engineering Models

“I think the creek covered in English Ivy looks less healthy because if there’s only one type of plant, there can’t be very many animals living there,” explained Aris, a third grade student from Berkeley Arts Magnet Elementary School. Aris and his classmates learned about creek restoration engineering by comparing historic photographs of creeks to figure out what makes a creek healthy or unhealthy. Using sand box models, the students then investigated how a creek habitat can be drastically changed by human engineering techniques. One student, Hanna shared, “The concrete channel actually increased erosion and then there was no habitat left for the animals! What were people thinking?!”

Students used cardboard pieces to represent creek-side plants in their models. Aris noticed, “I saw that the creek ecosystem is most healthy and has a natural, meandering pathway when there are creek-side plants along it.” This activity taught engineering concepts using model-building and was aligned with Next Generation Science Standards.

Last fall, Aris and his classmates grew native creek-side plant cuttings in their classrooms. This spring, they will use what they learned in their engineering experiments to help restore Strawberry Creek by planting red flowering currant and other native plants along the creek to prevent erosion, create habitat for animals and increase the beauty of the environment.

Learn more about our Environmental Action Projects.

Fifth Grade Five Rs Experts Teach Kindergartners

Inspired by how much her students enjoyed educating their school community through a Storm Drain Rangers Assembly last year, fifth grade teacher Ms. Jean Liu from Forest Park Elementary School in Fremont was excited to teach the Storm Drain Rangers program herself. Using the training and equipment she received from KIDS for the BAY, Ms. Lui guided her students to teach a kindergarten class about how trash travels from the storm drains to the San Francisco Bay and how to use the Five Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, and Refuse). Ms. Liu shared, “My fifth grade students enjoyed performing the Assembly for the kindergarten classes, and I heard from the kindergarten teachers that they had a great discussion with their students afterwards!” One of Ms. Liu’s students, Xiomara, shared, “The Assembly was important because if kids don’t know this information, our world will be filled with trash. Now they will reduce their trash and keep our world beautiful!” Another student, Rintaro, added, “The Assembly taught me not to be scared of being on stage. The experience was awesome!”

Learn more about our Storm Drain Rangers Program.

Discovering the San Francisco Bay Mermaid

“Can you find the mermaid?” asked KIDS for the BAY Instructor Joanna Hoffman. Jennifer, a fifth grade student from Schilling Elementary School in Newark, exclaimed, “If you look at the San Francisco Bay from above, on the satellite map it looks like a mermaid!” Students were excited to find Newark, their home town, near the mermaid’s “tail” on the map. Another student, Ariel, shared, “I found the Golden Gate Bridge! I think it’s cool that all of the water from our watershed has to go under the bridge to get to the Pacific Ocean.”

Students were excited to build models of the San Francisco Bay mermaid to observe how fresh and salt water mix in the bay to form Ester the Estuary! By adding drops of red food color to their models, students were also able to see how pollution can spread through the bay watershed. Alexia noticed, “If you pollute one body of the water in the bay, the whole estuary becomes polluted!”

Learn more about our Bay Estuary Scientist Classroom Workshops.

Our Partnership with Mission Blue

for-mission-blueWe are excited to be partners with Mission Blue, an initiative of the Sylvia Earle Alliance that is dedicated to protecting the health of our oceans! By creating a global network of Hope Spots, Mission Blue aims to increase the areas of protected ocean from 4% to 20% by the year 2020. Currently, the Mission Blue coalition includes over 100 organizations that work to conserve our oceans, either through education or research.

Check out their partner spotlight about us!

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