Cal Water H2O Challenge's Classroom Challenge is a project-based, environmentally-focused competition for classrooms, grades 4-6. Designed in conjunction with NAAEE, the WestEd K-12 Alliance, and Cal Water, and aligned with the Common Core State Standards and complementary to the Next Generation Science Standards, 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 sixth year, began as a classroom competition in 2014. To date 250 classrooms have participated in the Classroom Challenge. We are honored and privileged to continue to offer this experience to fourth-sixth grade classrooms in the Cal Water Service area, inviting them to develop and implement solutions for local water issues. Additionally the Classroom Challenge will now open for the first time to school-based clubs as well.
The students of participating classrooms or clubs initiate, develop, and implement a 4-8 week-long project (or longer at teacher discretion), focusing on caring for water. This project explores 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 project, students create a final portfolio documenting their work. This portfolio, along with accompanying cover sheets, student reflections, and a teacher reflection, constitute the final submission. Sample Portfolios can be found here.
Submissions are due February 21, 2020.
New for 2020/2021
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 now 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!
Design Over Implementation:
Additionally, understanding the hurdles of distance learning, and the need for an equitable, fair competition, this year's Classroom Challenge shall focus on Designing Solutions to Care for Water. What does that mean for you? Judges will not be seeking fully implemented projects, but looking for complete designs, that have been tested and refined, with the aim to address a local water issue. Perhaps your design will be a way to keep garbage out of the storm drains and prevent it from traveling to the ocean. Maybe your students will design a way to clean up a local creek or waterway. Your students may even create an engineering design for testing or cleaning water on campus. Whatever your students choose to do, you shall have our support, and we look forward to seeing their ideas!