Understanding the Urban Watershed

Understanding the Urban Watershed is a place-based, hands-on, minds-in Curriculum for students to engage with their local watershed and water systems in order to grow their environmental literacy and take action for a more equitable and sustainable future they want for themselves.

Dive in!

In 2021, we expanded our original grades 6-8 Units to include Units for 4th/5th grade and High School.

All these grade levels are now being integrated into classrooms in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia and GreenFutures.

The instructional narrative and resources provided are designed for teachers and our goal is to provide all that you need to instruct your students.

The future is ours to make…

Our Learning Community of teachers implementing these units is growing and dynamic. We share feedback, new resources, examples of student work, instructional successes, and challenges on an ongoing basis.

For more information or questions, or if you want to join our growing cohort , email Ellen.Schultz@phila.gov

Click the tab for the grade level(s) you want to implement or visit all three:

Understanding the Urban Watershed

Fourth & Fifth Grade Curriculum

Water connects us all. This website is an expedition into the Fairmount Water Works’ Understanding the Urban Watershed Curriculum, which offers an integrated approach to learning using Philadelphia’s water story as the context.

Log in for access

The Curriculum Project

Classroom Teachers!  Here are  two 10-12 week UNITS designed for upper elemenatry grades-- one for 4th and one for 5th grade. Each Unit is broken into Learning Experiences to take place over several class periods (indicated at the top of the Learning Experience).  This website portal was written for YOU  and provides  online access to everything you will need to teach these engaging lessons and activities, including a list of simple materials and additional resources -- all that you need to prepare and deliver instruction to your STUDENTS. With a quick log in (requiring an individual user name and password) , we encourage you to "dive in" and explore.  Additionally, we encourage you to click on the "Discuss" button  (top right ), an online tool within the website environment for sharing ideas, successes and challenges and accessing our FEEDBACK FORM  (please complete after each Learning Experience).

These two new Units expand our 6-UNIT Middle School Curriculum (grades 6-8 ) Understanding the Urban Watershed Curriculum.  The Middle Grades Curriculum began development in 2014 with support from the William Penn Foundation and the Fairmount Water Works/Philadelphia Water Department and it is now being implemented in Philadelphia classrooms in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia.   This Grade 4 and 5 Unit development was made possible with support from GreenFutures/School District of Philadelphia and the Fairmount Water Works/Philadelphia Water Department. It was designed in partnership with the Cloud Institute and School District of Philadelphia Teachers:

TJ Gobreski, Kirkbride Elementary

Megan Kolla, John Hancock Elementary School 

Tim Stopper, Francis Scott Key Elementary 

Joe Ulrich, Southwark Elementary

Curriculum Units

The curriculum is made up of 6 units. Each unit is made up of individual Learning Experiences.

Unit 1

4th Grade Unit : For the Love of Water

What can 4th graders do to contribute to a healthy and just Philadelphia for all Philadelphians?

Unit 2

5th Grade Unit: Me and My Watershed

What actions will the 5th graders in your classroom take to protect our land and water?