Community Waters Science Unit

Engaging Students in Science & Engineering to Solve Real Problems

“The biggest connection for my students is realizing that science is not something done only in the classroom. This stormwater unit helped them to connect science and engineering issues in their own schoolyard and neighborhoods to solutions that they could design themselves. Kids are noticing a lot more potential areas of concern, and are thinking of ways to solve these real-life problems.” – Aaron Kinion, 4th grade teacher at Broadview-Thomson K-8

IslandWood has partnered with Seattle Public Schools to develop a stormwater engineering science unit for fourth grade called Community Waters.  Expansion of implementation in Seattle schools is ongoing.

The unit was built around the Next Generation Science Standards with a focus on engineering design process and community based learning.  Students investigate stormwater runoff in their schoolyard and neighborhood and design a solution for a schoolyard stormwater problem.

Read this blog post for more on this project, and watch the following teacher training videos to learn more about the curriculum. 

Teacher Resources & Support

IslandWood is collaborating with the district to support teachers as they deliver the lessons and make the curriculum their own. In addition to the main curriculum, each participating school recieves customized materials including a school-specific map, pictures of local built and natural features that influence stormwater runoff, and suggested routes for a walking field trip in the school's neighborhood. 

Seattle school teachers can find the Community Waters curriculum, supporting materials, additional training videos, links and details here

Participating teachers receive large group professional development a school-specific planning session and assistance the first time they take their students out to investigate their neighborhood. 



We are grateful for the generous support of our partner organizations who have helped make this work possible: Seattle Public Schools, King County, Seattle Public Utilities, Boeing and the Washington State Department of Ecology.