Engaging and Educating 2nd and 3rd Graders with Water Conservation through a Leadership In Science Club

EcoTopic / Project Category
Water, Consumption & Waste, Education & Awareness
Project Goal Summary

My teaching practice is strongly rooted in an inquiry and constructivist approach. I believe that each individual student is capable of constructing knowledge and connections if given engaging inquiry-based tasks. This educational philosophy has led me to have a talent for implementing inquiry education into all content areas. 

Conservation issues stem from humans placing their individual interests at the center of their decisions. When children connect and build a personal relationship with the environment they see the environment as a personal issue and are therefore more likely to make environmentally conscious decisions. Therefore, science education needs to teach students empathy for the natural world. 


Watershed​ ​issues​ ​are common​ ​talking​ ​points​ ​within​ ​community​ policy makers. ​​ ​Unfortunately,​ ​few​ ​Americans​ ​have​ ​an understanding​ ​of​ ​watersheds​ ​and​ ​there​ ​is​ ​a​ ​disconnect​ ​between​ ​watershed​ ​science​ ​and​ ​the activities​ ​of​ ​everyday​ ​lives.​ ​​ ​.​ ​​ 

 I chose to create an ​afterschool​ “Leadership in ​Science”​ ​club designed​ ​to​ ​​teach​ ​and​ ​engage​ ​learners​ ​with​ ​local​ ​water​ ​conservation​ ​and​ ​stewardship​ ​through performing their own meaningful​ ​research. 20 second and third grade students participated in this club. The club meet once a week for 7 weeks. On the first day of the club, students learned, through inquiry teaching methods, about local ​issues​ ​regarding​ ​ocean​ ​plastic​ ​pollution​. During the next three meetings, the ​ ​participants learned about the ​level​ ​of​ ​impact​ ​their​ ​community​ ​has​ ​on​ ​ocean​ ​plastic​ ​pollution by collecting data on debris in the water at a local creek. The last few meetings were focused on analyzing their data and communicating​ ​their​ ​findings to ​the​ ​rest​ ​of​ ​the​ ​school​ which included ​asking​ ​the​ ​2nd​ ​and​ ​3rd​ ​grade​ ​classes​ ​to​ ​take​ ​action. The club chose to challenge the other 2nd and 3rd grade students (216 kids and 12 adults) to a trash clean up. Each 2nd and 3rd grade class participated in this challenge. As a result of this program the 2nd and 3rd grade classes removed 6 large trash bags of debris from the local waterway.

Project Location
Denver, CO
United States
Project Goals and News


My experience with this after school club was incredibly rewarding. I was able to focus in on my conservation goals by directly engaging my students in conducting meaningful research to impact ocean conservation.

One challenging part of this program was this communication and student-driven action component. At first, the students struggled with thinking of ways to communicate their research and choose a local environmental stewardship action. To work through this issue, we brainstormed the ways people communicate within neighborhood communities and our school community. This led the kids to chose to share their learnings through creating flyers and presenting on our school news. We also brainstormed ways to reduce our impact, as well as proactive and reactive actions. The most popular idea of thought was a trash clean up. The students saw this as a proactive measure because they were addressing the problem upstream, before it reached the ocean. 

Soon after this project, I was recognized as a highly impactful teacher for my effective use of inquiry-teaching practices and for leading my team in using inquiry-practices as well. Due to this recognition, I accepted a leadership position within my school to become a Team Specialist. Team Specialists are highly effective teachers that play an important role in collaborating with other school leaders to choose the instructional trajectory of our school. I now use this leadership position to bring an emphasis on inquiry practices and conservation into our school by leading professional development units.

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Leadership-After School Club-Ocean Conservation
File #1
Leadership in Science ClubLeadership in Science ClubThis is a paper detailing my experience creating and implementing this project5207 KB

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Form Details

Jenna Sewell
Jenna Sewell
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Date Added: Dec 11, 2017
Date Last Modified: Dec 11, 2017