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Classroom Challenge

A FREE classroom competition teaching kids about caring for water.

2023 Overview
2022: Grand Prize
2020: Grand Prize
2020: 2nd-5th

About Cal Water H2O Challenge's Classroom Challenge


Cal Water H2O Challenge's Classroom Challenge is 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 is aligned with the Common Core State Standards and complementary to the Next Generation Science Standards, and includes recommendations on how it can be integrated within your own classroom, while meeting curriculum goals. Through this integration, the Classroom Challenge offers 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 Cal Water H2O Challenge, currently in its ninth year, began as a classroom competition in 2014. To date over 375 classrooms have participated in the Classroom Challenge. We are honored and privileged to continue to offer this experience to fourth-sixth grade classrooms in a Cal Water service area, inviting them to develop and implement solutions for local water issues. Additionally the Classroom Challenge for the third year in a row welcomes school-based clubs to participate as well.


Learning Styles:

The Classroom Challenge is evolving to meet your changing needs and to help you bring a relevant, meaningful, project based learning opportunity to your students that transcends distance learning. Whether teaching remotely, in-person, or through a hybrid model, our new expert Teacher Ambassadors and advisors have developed a clear pathway to engage your students in real-world inquiry while helping you meet your curriculum goals.



And we're here for you! We will be offering office hours to help you and your class meet your goals. Through the support of our Teacher Ambassadors, we will be offering virtual meetings along with an updated handbook, new video guides, and additional resources to make your Classroom Challenge an amazing and smooth experience!


Drought Theme:

The 2022-2023 Cal Water H2O Challenge will be focused on the sustained drought conditions in California. As the climate in the state continues to get hotter and drier, the need for water conservation solutions is more important than ever. Check out our drought-themed resources and start brainstorming! 

Please note, while we encourage drought-themed projects, we also greatly appreciate projects around all local water issues! Tackling water issues other than the drought will not affect the evaluation of submitted projects.


Design and Deploy:

This year’s Classroom Challenge will embrace both the learnings of our past few years as a Design challenge and our previous history as a project-based challenge with an emphasis on implementation. What does that mean for you? This year we are moving to what we call, Design and Deploy. Participating classrooms are asked to design a solution around a local water issue and also to deploy that solution. This does not mean that the solution must be fully implemented; however it must at least be deployed in some manner. That may mean that the class fully implements the solution, but it could also mean that the classroom raises awareness about their solution and the local water issue through an outreach campaign, or that they engage civic leaders to address the problem. 

What matters is that projects address a local water issue, design a solution around that issue that they then refine, and finally that the classroom deploys that solution in some way, whether it is by raising awareness, seeking local action/engaging local leaders, or developing the solution themselves. Perhaps your students will build a model for plans to keep garbage out of storm drains and prevent it from traveling to the ocean, then communicate their idea to the school and community at large. Maybe they will share a scalable way to clean up a local creek or waterway with the community and engage local politicians and organizations. Your students may even initiate a process for conserving water on campus or build a drought-tolerant garden. Whatever your students choose to do, you have our support and we look forward to seeing their ideas brought to life!

Competition Calendar