Skip to main content

Classroom Challenge Winners

The Classroom Challenge is no longer active,
but this site subsection with the former program's handbook, resources, and web series remains available as our Teacher Toolkit to help you tackle your local water issues!

Congratulations to our 2020-2021 participating classrooms!

We received many spectacular submissions this year from classrooms throughout California. Once again our team is proud of the amazing work and dedication demonstrated statewide from each and every participating classroom. Thank you for doing your part to care for California’s water!

Learn about our winning classrooms below! Curious about past winning classrooms? Check the dropdown.

Greywater: It’s Not Grey, It’s Blue Poster

Grand Prize Munsey Elementary

PROJECT TITLE: Greywater: It’s Not Grey, It’s Blue

TEACHER NAME: Ms. Barbara Elrod

CITY: Bakersfield

GRADE LEVEL: 5th & 6th

Since water issues are a common topic of conversation in their community, Ms. Elrod’s students wanted to help address this issue and come up with a solution.  For their project, “Greywater: It’s Not Grey, It’s Blue” students demonstrated that greywater can be used to solve water conservation problems and successfully shared their findings with their community. The students began their research on greywater by speaking with a representative from the Kern County Water Agency. They then branched out and wrote to a wastewater officer, an almond farmer, and a soil chemist among others. In addition, they conducted various experiments including testing soil types and different properties of soap and water. They used all their findings and created a water site that they shared with the district. Their impressive findings got them a front-page feature in the local newspaper and an interview with San Joaquin Valley Water News.

Image from the winning portfolio

Second Place Parkview Elementary

PROJECT TITLE: Yard Design with Conservation Consciousness

TEACHER NAME: Mrs. Tammy Janos

CITY: Chico


For their Cal Water H<sub>2</sub>O Challenge project, Mrs. Janos’s researched and designed water-conserving lawns and shared their findings with their community. After students researched and discovered that the main source of home water consumption came from lawns, they decided to create a project titled, “Yard Design with Conservation Consciousness” that would inspire their community to choose water-conserving yards. The students began their journey by conducting extensive research that included surveying their own household water use, learning about different types of yards, and experimenting on plants. After performing their research, the students measured their yards and calculated the water needed for a grass yard vs a low-water-use shrub yard with drip irrigation. They then surveyed yards in their neighborhoods and began designing and creating models of their yards. Finally, they shared their findings with their community through a conservation newspaper, interactive games, speeches, and essays.

Are You Up for the Challenge?

Third Place Downtown Elementary

PROJECT TITLE: Are You Up for the Challenge?

TEACHER NAME: Ms. Rachel Lenix

CITY: Bakersfield


Ms. Lenix’s 6th graders took third place for raising awareness in their community about the drought crisis in California while sharing tips and information on water conservation.  For their project, “Are You Up for the Challenge?” the students wanted to do something that would inspire their school community to conserve water. They began by conducting extensive research which included testing three different local bodies of water and learning about how the drought impacts their agricultural community. After gathering this research, the students successfully created an aquatic newsletter, interactive games, and multiple videos that taught students about water conservation.

Del Amo School Garden

Fourth Place Del Amo Elementary

PROJECT TITLE: Del Amo School Garden

TEACHER NAME: Ms. Fa’auliulitō H. Meni

CITY: Carson


This year’s fourth place classroom won for their efforts to design, gain LAUSD approval for, and obtain funds to build a drought-resistant school garden. Ms. Meni’s students wanted to do something that would impact their community most directly. They decided to research and design a drought resistant school garden. The students first created an action plan that included contacting local stakeholders and government officials to see what would be required in order to install the garden. They then measured the dimensions of the proposed site and went to the City of Carson’s Xeriscape Garden at their Community Center to learn more about drought–resistant plants and design ideas for their garden plan. In addition, students watched a lesson about the drip irrigation system they use at City Hall to demonstrate how much water they could save in their School Garden.

Watershed Wellness

Fifth Place Sierra View Elementary

PROJECT TITLE: Watershed Wellness

TEACHER NAME: Miss Emily Akimoto

CITY: Chico


Miss Akimoto’s fifth-graders researched and informed local environmental and leadership groups as to the health of their water system. For this project, “Watershed Wellness” students focused on researching their local watersheds to see if they were polluted. Due to recent setbacks including the Camp Fire and the North Complex Bear Fire that went through Butte County just last fall, the students wanted to take action and find a definitive answer concerning the health of their creeks. After gathering extensive research, they reached out to different organizations informing them about the health of their watersheds with the hope of inspiring them to take action to protect those watersheds. In response one of their city council members has pledged to keep their study in mind for future decisions about their waterways.