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Environmental Science - Year 1

Ages 6-9, 9-11 and 11-14

Teacher:  Cynthia Kimura


Homework:    Provided.  Optional for ages 6-9.  Required for ages 9+.



Ages 6-9:  Students should be able to hold a pencil and do minor writing.  It’s OK if your child is still writing phonetically!

Ages 9+:  Time to do homework outside of class.  Reading at a 3rd grade ability or more.  Writing several sentences.

Ages 11+:  Time to do homework and research outside of class and write paragraphs based on research.


This class is currently planned out to be a 2-year science program.  There’s too much to learn in just one year!

The curriculum for this class is designed to present information on all topics to all ages, but with significantly more depth, research and expectations for older students.  While we will only touch upon the ideas of fossil fuels and renewable energy with younger students, our older students will be researching and reporting on what these are, how they are being used locally and nationally, as well as a global look at the future of renewable energy.

Class Description:

In this mostly science class, we’ll be exploring a wide range of topics that relate to our local and global environment!  What are animal and plant habitats, and how do we protect them?  How important are trees?  Are they more important in certain places, and less important in other places?  What’s happening in the RainForest, in Cloud Forests, in California Forests are more!  We’ll look at pollinators, our food supply and food webs as well as our garbage cycles and what it’s like to live on an island!  What are fossil fuels and what are renewable sources of energy?  Do they really work?  Are they economically viable?  Are they truly renewable, or are they shifting our energy and sustainability problems?   From food, water and energy waste to food, water and energy creation, we’ll look at how we can take care of this planet that our children will inherit, and what we can do as individuals to help ourselves and others live and breathe a healthy life.


This class is truly designed as a project based experience.  As the students study issues that relate to our local ecosystems, they will be impacting our entire local community by creating different Public Service Announcements (PSAs) designed to help us understand and take care of our environment better.  


What’s the Ballona Wetlands?  What’s happening at our local Chiquita Canyon Landfill?  Or the wildlife corridor that crosses highway 101 (the largest of its kind!)  When we learn more about these local environmental problems and solutions, we know how these ideas can be used in other places as well!  In our EcoSystem Dioramas project we’ll explore some of our local ecosystems and what is working, not working, and our ideas for helping to preserve our local ecosystems.  


Some of our other projects will include creating posters to promote the protection of wildlife habitats, learning about our local wildlife and how we can live harmoniously with each other!   When we study food consumption and food waste, we’ll look at landfills here and in other countries, graph how much we eat and how much food we throw away, and then come up with solutions on how we can ensure everyone has enough food to eat!  For our youngest learners we’ll be making simple block graphs and making posters of what we eat and what we throw away, integrating math, science and art.  For our older students, this unit will include more complex graphs as we look at not only our own food waste, but how we waste food nationally and globally and how this affects worldwide food needs and our environment.  We’ll extend this lesson by looking at environmentally sound food packaging to help us all understand the nature of plastics as well as what’s going into our landfills.  Students will then come up with both small and larger solutions that will be presented to our class.  Come see what our students come up with!


As we study RainForests (and other forests too!), we’ll also be creating our own simple terrariums and learning how to balance air, light and water to sustain our plants!  Our graphs will show that some plants fare better than others in different situations, and we’ll figure out how to maximize life in our own terrariums!  


The Lorax is a seminal work in the ideas surrounding planet management for all ages, so every class will be introduced to this book!  The Once-ler tells us all “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”  We’ll all look at ways we can make a difference.  All of our kids will make a short Zine related to The Lorax and what they’ve learned throughout the year, enabling kids that are more science and math centric to show off these skills while our artistic students will get to use their art skills to show the impact of how we treat our earth and our writing students will bring in poems and other writings they have done throughout the year to show what they are most passionate about.  

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