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Classroom Challenge FAQ

Eligibility

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Who can participate in Cal Water H2O Challenge's Classroom Challenge?

Public or Private California classrooms, grades 4-6 in a Cal Water service area are eligible to participate.

I don't know if my school is in a Cal Water service area. How do I find out?

Scan our list of eligible schools.

I don't see my school listed but we are in a Cal Water service area. What should I do?

Please check your school address on the Cal Water service area map or Contact Us with your school information and we can verify your eligibility status.

Can combination classes participate?

Yes. We accept combination classes for grades 3/4, 4/5, 5/6 or larger combinations including: 3/4/5, 4/5/6, or 3/4/5/6 combo classes.

I have multiple classes. Can I register more than one classroom?

You can register as many classrooms as you like but you can only register one classroom per each registration form. You will need to go through the registration process again for additional classrooms.

Can multiple classrooms compete as one team?

No. Each classroom should have a separate team name and will be competing as separate teams in the competition.

I teach a home-school classroom. Can my class participate?

Absolutely. If you teach a grade 4-6 class in a Cal Water service area, then you can participate.

Can after school clubs compete?

Of course! Any school-based club or group made up of no more than 40 kids in grades 4-6 in a Cal Water service area, can participate.

Basics

Photograph of a 5th grade boy playing along the Pacific shore wearing a CalWater H2O Challenge shirt.

Why participate in Cal Water H2O Challenge's Classroom Challenge?

Involving your students in the Cal Water H2O Challenge's Classroom Challenge not only teaches them to understand water as a local and global resource, but also encourages social responsibility and engages your student as active agents in their community.

How much time do I need for Cal Water H2O Challenge's Classroom Challenge?

A project can be completed in 4-8 weeks, although you can opt to spend longer on your design solution depending on your classroom schedule. As the competition follows a project-based learning model and incorporates both Common Core State Standards for ELA and Math, and is complementary to the Next Generation Science Standards, it is possible to fill your day with activities around the project and to focus on it for the school year. However, this is not required. Your project submission will be due February 28th, 2021, even if you choose to continue your project beyond that date.

How does Cal Water H2O Challenge's Classroom Challenge align with the standards?

The competition has been designed with the standards in mind from the beginning. With the help of WestEd / K-12 Alliance, a handbook and lesson plans have been designed to align with Common Core State Standards and complement the Next Generation Science Standards. Projects can meet standards in reading, vocabulary, research, writing, oral-speaking, science, social studies, and math, while also inspiring students to be active agents of change and to protect our water for future generations.

For a thorough review of how the Classroom Challenge can align with the standards, please check out the curriculum integration section of our handbook PDF or Google Doc, or explore the curriculum integration section of our new Google Classrooms.

Are there resources that can help guide the project?

Absolutely, we provide many teacher resources, including a competition handbook (PDF or Google Doc), inclusive of curriculum integration tips, sample topics, and our competition rubric. New this year, we are offering Google Classrooms with tailored tips per your grade level. Additionally, our Teacher Ambassadors have office hours open to help support your Classroom Challenge. You can find our resources on the resources page.

What is the portfolio?

The portfolio is a classroom's final submission to Cal Water H2O Challenge's Classroom Challenge. The portfolio will cover:

  • The Goals of Your Project
  • Your Research
  • Your Actions to Solve a Local Water Problem/Concern
  • Your Community Outreach Effort
  • Student Reflections on Growth in:
    • Understanding
    • Environmental Stewardship
    • Collaboration
  • Teacher Reflection on Student Growth in:
    • Skills
    • Knowledge
    • Classroom Culture

A sample portfolio can be found in resources to help with your portfolio planning.

Can persons outside of the classroom be involved in the project?

Yes. We encourage classrooms to engage their families and community. However, the project itself must be driven by the students.

What are the prizes for the competition?

Cal Water will acknowledge all classroom participants (teachers and students) that submit a final portfolio. Exact prizes can vary. Please see our prizes page for more details.

Registration

Photograph of a group of eight children all playing jump rope at the same time.  The rope ends are held by their principal and a teacher.

How do I register for the competition?

Registration is simple and can be completed online. Head to our Registration Page, review and accept the competition terms and conditions, then fill out and submit the registration form.

What is the registration deadline?

There are two seperate registration deadlines.

The first registration deadline, the early registration deadline, is November 20, 2020. Registration by this date enters you into a drawing for one of twenty $500 classroom grants.

The second registration deadline, the final registration deadline, is January 31, 2021. Registrants who register after November 20, 2020 will not be eligible for one of the $500 grants.

Am I registered?

Upon completing the reigstartion process, you will receive a confirmation email. If you have registered and have not recieved a confirmation email, please contact us immediately.

The Project

Photograph of a smiling child holding a glass jar, filled with water and a small creature.

I'm looking for a class speaker. Where can I find a water expert?

Try nearby universities, museums and antuer centers. Local professors, retired naturalists/scientists, and naturalists from non-profit organizations and local nature centers can be amazing resources!

What additional resources are available for help with the project?

DoGoodery is also offering twenty $500 grants that will be distributed by random selection to twenty registrants that register by the early registration deadline of November 20, 2020. Any registrant that accepts these funds must commit to submitting a project by the deadline of February 28, 2021.

How do I qualify for a grant?

To be eligible for a grant, your classroom must complete registration by November 20, 2020, 11:59 PM PDT. Grants will be distributed by a random drawing from all registrants. Additionally any registrant that accepts these funds must commit to submitting a project by the submission deadline of February 28, 2021.

Does our project need to be approved in advance?

There is no need to have your project approved by Cal Water in advance. However, it is important that you have your principal's approval for your participation in the competition.

What should the project be about?

Sample topics include issues around water conservation and water quality, but projects are not limited to these areas. The project topic and design solution are up to your class. The project must focus on caring for water, but the specific topic has no limit. Be creative. Originality is encouraged.

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, we look forward to seeing how they plan to care for water!

If you prefer a reference some sample topics can be found in the handbook in the resources section.

The Portfolio

Photograph of a 6th grade girl sitting, thinking, on a log, holding a pencil with a pink notebook resting on her lap.

How do I create a portfolio?

The Cal Water H2O Challenge's Classroom Challenge will allow your students to use technology to create their portfolios. They may use: PowerPoint, Keynote, Presenter, or Prezi.

Hand-made, paper portfolios will also be accepted.

Who can create the portfolio?

While teachers and adults can assist with instruction, guidance, and material support, the portfolio itself must be created by the students.

What media can be included in the portfolio?

The portfolio can include pictures, videos, site links, articles, written letters, etc. - anything that your class made or that spotlights your project work.

 

Where can I find the supporting materials?

The cover sheets, teacher reflection, and student reflection forms can be found in the handbook on the Resources Page.

How long should the teacher reflection be?

The teacher reflection should be no more than 1,200 words.

How do I submit my portfolio?

Your portfolio may be submitted via email or a fileshare program of your choice. For specifics, read the submission guide, which includes appropriate emails and contact information for troubleshooting.
With a paper portfolio, please mail your portfolio to:

Cal Water H2O Challenge
ATTN: Conservation Department
2632 West 237th Street
Torrance, CA 90505

Be sure to include paper copies of all supplementary materials. They will not count against your page count.

Competition Calendar

Photograph of a group of 6th grade children happily running, in the forground a girl is leaping, both feet off the ground, one shoe untied.

What is the Registration Deadline?

There are two seperate registration deadlines.

The first registration deadline, the early registration deadline, is November 20, 2020. Registration by this date enters you into a drawing for one of twenty $500 classroom grants.

The second registration deadline, the final registration deadline, is January 31, 2021, but registrants who register after November 20, 2020 will not be eligible for one of the $500 grants.

When are project submissions due?

Project submissions must be received by February 21, 2020 11:59 pm PDT.

When will winners be announced?

Winners will be announced in early April 2021.

When is the grand prize celebration?

The grand prize celebration will be held April 13-15, 2020.

Do you have any information about next year's competition?

To learn more about next year's competition you can subscribe to our mailing list. As announcements are made and registration opens, we will send out emails to all of our subscribers to let them know the latest details.

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NEW in 2020/2021

What has changed in the Cal Water H2O Challenge Classroom Challenge for the 2020/2021 school year?

We, here at the Cal Water H2O Challenge, have made numerous updates for this year's Classroom Challenge. In broad strokes, we have made the following updates:

We have updated the competition to better function within multiple learning environments to accommodate for the large number of remote and hybrid learning models in classrooms for the 2020/2021 program year.

The focus of the competition has shifted from implementing a project to solve a local water issue, to designing a solution for a local water issue, allowing for completion of the program even when classes cannot convene in-person or onsite.

New resources have been added to better facilitate the program, including Google Classrooms, new Google Doc versions of important materials, and videos to help guide you and your class through program implementation.

Finally, we are happy to announce our new Teacher Ambassadors - past program participants and winners that are offering their time and expertise to help your classrooms facilitate your Challenges. Our Teacher Ambassadors advise the program, helping to eliminate participation barriers and adhere to state curriculum; film videos to help guide teachers on best practices and offer tips on how to incorporate the Challenge into their classrooms; and offer office hours to help answer your questions.

Can you explain what you mean by shifting from program implementation to design?

Absolutely. 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, we are looking to see their ideas, to understand their designs, and to understand the tests and refinements they made along the way in creating a solution for their water issue.

We are, however, not looking for an implemented solution. In order to maintain equity in an environment where not all classrooms will be able to meet as a group to actually implement a project onsite, we only want to see designs and process, exclusive of any final implementation. Show us your brainstorming, how you came about selecting a topic, what research you did and how you settled on your particular water issue. What questions led to your design? How did you as a class design your solution? Test it? Refine it? What did you learn? How would you implement your design if you were able and what would you expect to see as a result? How have you communicated your design, your topic, and your water issue to the community? Let us know in your portfolio!

Who are the new teacher ambassadors?

Great question. Our new teacher ambassadors are made up of past participating and winning teachers. See all of our teacher ambassadors in the Our Team Section of the site.

How do I contact a teacher ambassador for help?

You can reach our teacher ambassadors during weekly office hours. Learn more about our office hours here.