Curriculum Highlights

Key Learning ObjectivesStudents will be able to answer the questions: What species live in or visit the watershed? How many of them are here? When are they here? How many should be here? What are the human impacts on them? What can be done to reduce the human impacts and to support bird biodiversity? What is the history of human interactions with birds within the Petaluma River watershed? What kinds of interactions occur now? Which are beneficial? Which are not? What kinds of interactions can students advocate for?

Geoliteracy Integration:

  • Interactions: Students will study the interactions between birds, birds and other species as well as the interactions of birds and humans.
  • Interconnections: Students will study the interconnections of birds with other species within the various watershed habitats and ecosystems as well as the interconnections of humans and birds. Birds as indicator species, birds as part of the energy and matter flows in watershed ecosystems, and connections that birds have to other parts of the world through migration are also geoliteracy topics that will be explored.
  • Implications: Students will study the challenges that birds in the Petaluma watershed face; especially those due to human impact. Students will engage in decision-making activities in order to make public decisions/recommendations to reduce those impacts.

Participating Schools: McNear Elementary

Lead Teachers: Kirsten Franklin

Participating Classes: 4th Grade

Overview: Students will conduct inquiry-based, citizen science investigations about birds that live in or visit the Petaluma Watershed. The essential question will be: What is the state of bird biodiversity in the Petaluma watershed and what can we, as young stewards do to support biodiversity of birds in the Petaluma Watershed?

CA Standards Addressed

Content Standards addressed: LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
ETS1: Engineering Design

CCSS ELA and math standards will be addressed as well and more specifically identified when I know what grade I will be teaching.


Fieldwork Activities

Students will conduct multiple, citizen science bird identification and counts at places such as regional parks, local creeks, the Petaluma River, and at their school campus. Additionally, students will design and conduct their own investigations of birds that will be written up into reports and presentations.