Taking students into the field to conduct authentic science brings science to life. This document shares resources used to facilitate a field experience for 5th grade students both in the classroom and out in the field around a Washington State listed endangered species, the sharp-tailed grouse. The field event took place at the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area near Conconully, WA but the resource can be used and adapted for other locations and other focus species. This resource can be a guide in developing your own STEAM in the field experience for students.
This inquiry unit leads students through the different perspectives behind a decision to have a dam removed. This unit looks at similar Washington state dam removal decisions as well as the complex issue of having the Election dam removed near Puyallup, WA. Students will be introduced to the stories and traditional ways of knowing about salmon that the Puyallup Tribe has built their culture upon. Then they will explore the science behind hydroelectricity and build models to discover how carbon neutral energy is gathered through hydro dams. This inquiry unit ends with students researching different perspectives surrounding the current (2021) decision to remove the Electron dam including: the Tribe’s Fishery department, the ecosystem, the city council, the fishermen and the hydro-electrical company who currently owns the dam. With their research, students will do a socratic seminar to mimic the court case lawsuit that is ongoing against the Electron Dam.
Shellfish like oysters and clams are an important part of Washington State native traditions, the economy and coastal ecosystems. Shellfish have faced and continue to face many challenges including overfarming, pollution and ocean acidification. Shellfish also have an important role in addressing these challenges because of their ability to provide habitat for other species and filter pollutants, bacteria and excess nutrients from the water.In this unit students learn about the stakeholders, history, economics and cultural importance of shellfish in the Puget Sound/Salish Sea regions. Then they learn about how shellfish interact with their environment and their importance in local ecosystems. Finally they learn about some of the current environmental challenges and some solutions linked to shellfish. They will create a persuasive product from the viewpoint of one of the stakeholder groups. They should argue from evidence why shellfish are important to that group and what should be done with shellfish in the future.