Fieldwork Coordinator Update – November 2018


November Fieldwork Coordinator Update

Date of Activity / Lesson:

November, 2018


South Waterfront Community Garden, Jean’s Farm in SE Portland, and the Sauvie Island Center, Tryon Creek State Park, Bull Run Reservoir


First and Second Grades


This fall, our 1st and 2nd grade students have dug into the topic of plants and gardens. Students explored the questions: Why do people plant gardens? What are the parts of a plant?


What and when can plants can be planted successfully in Portland? To help find the answers, students ventured out to the South Waterfront Community Garden, Jean’s Farm in SE Portland, and the Sauvie Island Center. Students observed plants, learned about what they need to grow, and even had an opportunity to bake apple tarts in an outside oven!


Back at school students planted their own vegetable garden in rolling raised beds that we acquired with a grant through the West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District. The two classrooms also created “gardens” on their walls, which included depictions of the people who care for the them. When students learned about pollination, they built and added pollinators to the scene to ensure the health of their plants. As culminating activities, students designed calendars that tells what time of year certain plants grow, and they will be hosting a family celebration (featuring the veggies they grew!) in early December.


Fourth and Fifth Grades


Water has been the focus of 4th and 5th grade fieldwork this fall. In order to learn more about the main properties of water, how it moves on our planet, and its importance to all living things, students traveled across our watershed. They visited Tryon Creek State Park to learn about water quality testing and the attributes of a watershed, they toured the Columbia River Gorge to see firsthand how water has shaped our landscape, and they journeyed to the remote Bull Run reservoir to better understand the origin of our drinking water. Students explored personal and cultural connection to water through a full-day trip to the Sandy River Delta where they met with educators from local tribes to consider all of the different ways that water provides for us. Lastly, an educator from Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services visited the classrooms with a watershed model to show students the daily relationship with have with water in our environment– how it impacts us, and how we impact it.


As a culmination, students are conducting mini-research projects about different water issues such as the effect of rising water temperatures on salmon populations. They are also writing personal narratives about their experiences with water.


Stay tuned for more updates of Place-Based Education (PBE) adventures at The Cottonwood School of Civics and Science.

Sarah K. Anderson, Fieldwork Coordinator, The Cottonwood School of Civics and Science

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