McNear Elementary

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

Essential Question:
(Version 1) "What environmental connections can we make between our local watershed and the Peruvian Amazon watershed?"

(Version 2) What are the characteristics of a watershed, and specifically, what are the characteristics of our local watershed, which drains into Thompson Creek?

Project Summary

(Version 1) An overarching theme of, "Exploring global and local environments- past, present, and future" will guide fourth graders' 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 gather base-line data of the section of Thompson Creek that borders one side of McNear School's campus. The baseline data will be used in the future to develop and implement a climate-smart restoration of this section of the creek that will then open up future access for McNear students to engage in expanded outdoor and science learning.

(Version 2) Using this essential question, we will acquire specific knowledge about watersheds in general and Thompson Creek in particular. It is important that students understand that Thompson Creek is a watershed that feeds into the larger Petaluma Creek watershed, just as most watersheds feed into larger watersheds. A feeling of personal stewardship on the part of each student is also important as students understand that they are a part of their community.

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



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

Student Work

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