Fieldwork Coordinator Update – Dec 2020


Fieldwork Coordinator Update – Dec 2020

Date of Activity / Lesson:

Dec 2020


Homes, Backyards, Neighborhoods


Place-based, hands-on learning from a distance


4th and 5th Grades


This fall our 4th and 5th grade students are learning all about how water moves, including the water cycle and how watersheds work.

Earlier in the trimester, students created informative and beautiful diagrams demonstrating different stages of the water cycle.



They followed instructions to conduct different experiments at home. In one experiment, students created a water filtration system using a bottle and material like rocks, soil, and leaves. In another experiment, they evaporated warm salt water in a bowl to make it condense on the cool plastic above, before it precipitated fresh water back down into a smaller bowl. Students also created models from crumpled paper to research how water can travel off of a watershed.


4/5 Fieldwork   4/5 Fieldwork



To support both the teacher-directed and hands-on learning, Morgen’s and Daniel’s class welcomed guest speakers from Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Water Bureau to share knowledge about our local watershed. As a culminating activity, students are molding and painting their own watershed models out of salt dough using materials from the most recent supply kits. We’re looking forward to seeing how they turn out!



3rd Grade

As part of their geology investigation, 3rd graders picked up kits in October with several hands-on activities.


geology kit


Students conducted a fun experiment using Starburst candies to see how rocks transform from sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous. They went on to create diagrams to show their understanding of the rock cycle.


3rd grade FieldWork


Students adopted a pet rock! They used research materials and a series of clues to determine what type of rock they had adopted.


3rd grade FieldWork


The class hosted a presentation by OMSI where students learned about different types of rocks through a series of tests conducted by the presenter.

Students are now working on a digital geological timeline research project that will be displayed on the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals website. We are thrilled to continue this partnership despite remote learning this trimester. Thanks, 3rd graders!


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

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

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