TOTOS SEEP Grant EE/ESE Program Descriptions

Sustainability and Environmental Education for Pre-Service (SEEP)

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Name(s) of instructor(s)

Jim Williamson

Name of university

Washington State University

Level of preparation for the program being described: elementary, middle school, high school (or combination)


University course number

T&L 371, T&L 572

University course title

Elementary Science Methods

University course catalogue description

Objectives of this specific EE-ESE project

(big ideas are fine)

Teaching methods which are used to teach science at grades K-8.

Description of the experience(s) the pre-service teachers had to learn EE-ESE strategies

(This is the main, detailed description. Please include enough detail so someone else will know what you did.)

Outdoor Environmental Day was held at Klemgard Park. It involved pre-service teachers taking T&L 371 (Elementary Science Methods) and approximated 260 third graders from school districts in and around Pullman, Washington.

Pre-service teachers were divided into two large groups: those which would prepare lessons about soil and plants, and those which would prepare lessons about water and animals. These two large groups were then divided into smaller study groups of about 4 pre-service teachers each. Each pre-service teacher was responsible for a part of the lesson focus along with a corresponding lesson plan. These smaller groups hosted approximately 15-18 third graders… one group in the morning lasting about 1 ½ hours, and another group in the afternoon lasting about 1 ½ hours. Lesson focus might include an exploration of plant ecosystems: those plants which grow in soils which might be moist, damp, acidic, or dry. Students would then draw conclusions about the relationships between plants and soils. Another focus might be the types of aquatic animals living along the stream which flows through the park. What sort of aquatic life lives in still water, how does temperature affect the animals living there, how does the water quality (ph) affect animal life? Students begin to connect the influences on their environment which affect animal and plant life.

This activity, supported with environmental materials was extremely relevant for our pre-service teachers. It demonstrate what can be best taught in the out-of-doors. It also serves as a connection between authentic education and nature.

Materials/equipment needed for the pre-service teacher experience (include technology that may have been used)

Misc. materials for investigating habitats: microscopes, hand lenses, trays, spoons, thermometers, stop watches, other measuring tools. Nets, scoops, trowels, animal skins, binoculars, clip boards, pencils.

Were preK-12 children involved? (Yes or no). If yes, describe their involvement and ages.

3rd graders (ages 7,8,9)

Was this an indoor or outdoor project (or both)?

Describe the setting.

Pre service students prepared materials indoors and then used them in an authentic setting. Klemgard Park has a small stream… forested hillside and lawn and rough grasses.

Were other subject area professors involved? Yes or no. If yes, what subjects were integrated? How?


Were there community/ agency/institution partners? Yes or no. If yes, how was the partnership structured?

Multiple school districts were involved.

How was the program evaluated? What did the pre-service teachers have to say?

Teachers responded by writing letters concerning the experience. Pre-service teachers had a reflection paper to write about the event.



If another grant was written to support your EE-ESE work, what types of things would you hope to accomplish?

I would hope that we could continue to connect children with nature in a similar manner. Both our pre-service teachers and students need this connection to appreciate environmental concerns in the real world.

Thank you!