Classroom Education and Outreach
The City of Ventura has partnered with Ventura Unified School District to provide environmentally-focused presentations in all K-5 classrooms. The topics range from ocean pollution prevention to composting and recycling. As students move through the elementary schools, they are exposed to a variety of lessons and activities that help foster their love and excitement for Ventura. With this program, we hope to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards.
In the 2018-2019 school year, the Green Schools Program presented to 19 elementary schools, reaching 6,797 (K-5) students. Each grade level explored a different theme related to sustainability, and students are challenged to think about solutions to reduce their impact on the environment. Additionally, each lesson is tailored to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to foster inquiry, communication, and problem-solving skills.
Below is a list of the classroom presentations that we offer, as well as the science standards that were used as inspiration. Our presentations are meant to be engaging and educational while giving each teacher an opportunity to have a guest take the lead for an hour. It is our goal to get into every classroom every year, so if you or someone you know wants to take advantage of this program, please make sure to reach out!
The Kindergarten lesson, “Healthy Habitat”, focuses on discussing how plastic and other debris end up on our beaches and in the ocean.When students understand that what we need to live healthy and happy lives is the same as the plants and animals around us, they gain a sense of responsibility to protect our marine friends. We discuss stormwater pollution prevention and stress the importance of keeping our storm drains clean as well as picking up litter on our beaches and neighborhoods. This lesson is tailored to the NGSS K-ESS2, K-ESS3, and K-LS-1.
Where Does it Go?
The first-grade lesson, “Where does it go?”, teaches students about the “Three “R’s” of sustainability – with a focus on ‘reduce’.This is an interactive educational experience that teaches students about what things are made out of and where they go when they place them in the proper bin. Some are surprised to find out that our waste doesn't magically disappear, yet all of the students gain an understanding of what material belongs in each bin. We discuss solid waste management, recycling, composting, waste reduction strategies and how to sort our waste during lunch. This lesson is tailored to the NGSS K-2-ETS1.
Where Does it Flow?
Is a watershed just a shed full of water?! In the second-grade lesson, “Where does it flow?”, a watershed model is used to discuss what a watershed is, where pollution comes from, how it affects the plants and animals in our city, and what we can do to keep our rivers, streams, and oceans clean. Students learn about runoff, bioswales, erosion control, pesticide management, and many more practices focused on keeping our community and local watershed clean. This lesson is tailored to the NGSS 2-PS1, 2-ESS2, and 2-ETS1.
Does it Rot?
The Green Schools Program is launching a new 3rd grade presentation for the 2019-2020 school year after Dr. Rot, our composting guru and champion of all things squirmy, has since retired. In the third-grade lesson, “Does it Rot?”, students learn about the magic of composting and how we can use worms to reduce landfill-bound waste and help heal our soil. Students will also observe and learn about the anatomy of the fascinating Red Wiggler Worm. This lesson is tailored to the NGSS 3-ESS2 and 3-ESS3.
Renewable or Not?
In the fourth-grade lesson, “Renewable or Not,” students learn about energy conservation and natural resources.While we don't think there's such a thing as "good" or "bad" resources, we do believe that proper management and understanding is important for a healthy and vibrant city. In this presentation, students are exposed to different forms of energy, their longevity, and how to properly conserve our limited resources. This lesson is tailored to the NGSS 4-PS3 and 4-ESS3.
It's a Small World
In the fifth-grade lesson, “It’s a Small World”, students are taught with a hands-on approach about the unnecessary waste going into the landfill. Each fifth-grade class audits their school’s lunch waste to uncover and learn better ways to manage waste. During this activity, students sort through one day’s worth of lunch waste by categorizing and weighing the different types of material in each waste stream. This lesson has resulted in students designing signs for lunch waste bins, videos, and student helpers to help their school understand how to divert food waste from the landfill. Every year we divert ~150 tons of food waste from the landfill and these audits help find ways that we can improve the program year after year. This lesson is tailored to the NGSS 5-ESS3, 5-LS2, and 5-ETS1.