Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

Schoolin' kids in the environment, California style

California just got its first environmental education curriculum. I'm related to a lot of people who teach (though the sort of things they teach have rhyme and scan, as opposed to kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus or species), so I checked it out.

The new "curriculum units" for the state's environmental education plans cover climate change, habitats, Monarch butterflies (what up, St. Joe's Menlo Park first grade), energy, water resources, and plenty more.

They developed the lessons with "business, non-profits, state agencies and education partners." Right now it's on-line; in the future, EEI hopes to be able to provide printed versions and teacher training. (Though on-line seems so eco-friendly, after all.)

Here's one example: alphabet cards for kindergardeners:

The second grade curriculum includes "The Mystery of the Missing Strawberries." I am glad I am not in the second grade, for I would not do well at explaining what Tina and her dad are talking about here (your guess is as good as mine; seasonality of crops?):

For the ambitious, the state's taking comment on the new lesson plans too.

Grammar school environmental lessons imprinted hard on my brain: Mr. Zucca's weed and bug identification projects in junior high, Sr. Robinson teaching us about Monarch butterflies in first grade, Ms. Sullivan and Ms. Jones and the carbon cycle sophomore year. In the fourth grade, I made a map of where California farmers grew which crops: I wish I could find that thing, because I bet it's changed some. If you grew up in California, what environmental lessons did you learn?

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