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About the Teacher Toolkit


Photograph of smiling 5th grade students with the Pacific ocean at their backs.  A few children are raising their hands.


The Teacher Toolkit is a collection of past resources from the former Cal Water H2O Challenge's Classroom Challenge. Although the Challenge is no longer offered, handbooks and other resources remain accessible for any teachers looking for tips on how to integrate project-based learning initiatives into their own classrooms.

The Classroom Challenge ran for nine years, from 2014 to 2023, as a project-based, environmentally-focused competition for classrooms, grades 4-6. Brought to you in conjunction with DoGoodery, the WestEd K-12 Alliance, and Cal Water, the Classroom Challenge aligned with the Common Core State Standards and was complementary to the Next Generation Science Standards, and included recommendations on how it could be integrated within your classrooms, while meeting curriculum goals. Through this integration, the Classroom Challenge offered a unique opportunity for upper elementary teachers to facilitate their students' learning of standards-based content, while developing the core understanding of environmental principles necessary to becoming science-literate citizens.


The Project

Photograph of a 5th grade girls, wearing glasses and holding a test tube.


The students of participating classrooms or clubs would initiate, develop, and implement a 4-8 week-long project (or longer at teacher discretion), focusing on caring for water. This  project explored water as a global resource and as a local resource, while tackling a local water problem in an individual and community-based endeavor.

A handbook can be found in our resources, including a guide for the flow of the project, and sample lesson plans.

Upon completion of the design, students created a final portfolio documenting their work. This portfolio, along with accompanying cover sheets, student reflections, and a teacher reflection, constituted the final submission. Sample Portfolios can be found here.


Photograph of a large group of students ascending a hill on a sunny day, brown grasslands on either edge of the trail.


Eligible classrooms or clubs had to be:

  • Grades 4, 5, and/or 6
  • Registered by their teacher
  • Conducting a water-based project
  • Focusing on caring for water (conservation, quality, supply, etc.)
  • Based in a Cal Water service area - Check for Your School!