Two students working in a science classroom

Project-Based Science

Grade 4
Amesti Elementary
Watsonville, CA

Major Objectives

  • Help students develop a sense of place and become familiar with the engineering cycle through the invention process


Students at Amesti Elementary School were given the driving question: "How healthy is our schoolyard?" Then, they spent the first half of the school year investigating how science can help find answers. From August to December, students learned about trash, energy audits, biodiversity and composting in their weekly lessons. In January, students began exploring the engineering cycle. They brainstormed a list of relevant local environmental problems and teamed up to initiate a solution to their selected problem. By the end of the project, each group had performed research, created a prototype, tested it and refined the design.

Notes from the Field

"I learned that in every problem, there's a solution."