Creating a Watershed Academy
We seek to promote inquiry in Science that is integrated across the curriculum, that fully engages students and leads them to develop solutions to questions and problems that concern them. It has been difficult to achieve this because Science instruction has generally been isolated from other subject areas, has not been developed around overarching themes or problem-based central questions that students embrace as their own, has included inconsistent use of hands-on activities or problem- based collaboration, and makes little use of technology to catalyze learning. Teachers have not had the resources or time to explore a learning path that is founded in inquiry around a core question or concern and that utilizes the full potential of learning that should be available to students. We propose to transform Science instruction by creating a Watershed Academy where students collaborate across grades and with the local community to answer questions about their local watershed, translate that inquiry into opportunities to educate others about watersheds, and work to be of service to the community through watershed restoration. Our starting point for this integrated inquiry is outdoor field study, on campus and further afield, using nature journaling and fieldwork.