McNear Elementary

Teachers: Kirsten Franklin, Kerry Santia and Eric Norstad
Subject: Science
Classes: 4th Grade
Collaborators: Point Blue (STRAW), NOAA Planet Stewards Program

Project Summary

An overarching theme of, "Exploring global and local environments- past, present, and future" will guide fourth graders' descriptive and comparative investigations of their local watershed and part of the world's largest watershed, the Peruvian Amazon river and rainforest. Connections will be made across the curriculum to explore how the watersheds are similar, different, and interconnected; especially with regard to global climate. This will include having students continue to gather baseline data of the section of Thompson Creek that borders one side of McNear School's campus. The baseline data will be used to continue developing climate-smart restoration of this section of the creek opening up access for McNear students to engage in expanded outdoor and science learning.

Fourth graders will study the interaction of various aspects of local and global watersheds such as plant and animal life, erosion and deposition, and climate factors at play in their local watershed and in the Amazon watershed.  They will analyze the interconnections between the two areas such as the many products we use on a daily basis that come from the Amazon and how the Amazon rainforest affects global climate. Through this comparative study of a local and a significant global watershed, students will understand the many implications between the two watershed systems and the need to be strong environmental stewards of both.

Download Curriculum

This project started out as two separate projects and was ultimately merged so slightly different versions exist in year two of the program. Original proposals also have different names.

Year One                      Year Two                   Year three YEAR FOUR



Link to iNaturalist website.
Link to Kirsten Franklin's class website for the 2016-2017 school year. 

Student Work

McNear Elementary 4th and 5th grade students showed the above video at our 2019 Student Showcase. The slideshow displays the incredible work the students have done repairing their campus environment, and shows their experiences learning about biodiversity.

Above is the presentation that McNear 4th grade students presented at our 2018 Watershed Classroom Student Showcase.

Video made by Kirsten Franklin's students at McNear Elementary School. Presented at the 2017 Student Showcase

Link to the results of a McNear Campus Bioblitz conducted on iNaturalist. Data collected will be shared with Point Blue (STRAW) and used to inform restoration and habitat creation efforts on campus. 

Examples of Student Journals