Understanding the Urban Watershed

The Fairmount Water Works designed a place-based, hands-on, minds-in Curriculum for students to engage with their local watershed and water system, in order to grow their understanding of issues and take action for a more equitable and sustainable future they want for themselves.

The Curriculum website was designed to be a shared community for feedback, new resources, examples of student work, instructional successes and challenges.

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4th/5th grade and High School Units are being piloted in 2021-22. Find the feedback form we created after each Learning Experience to share your feedback

Middle School is being implemented in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia and GreenFutures. Let us know if you want to join our growing cohort.

For more information or questions, email Ellen.Schultz@phila.gov

Select which curriculum you want to visit:

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.

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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

Students will dive in as they explore resources, renewability and time

Unit 2

5th Grade Unit: Me and My Watershed

5th graders will discover that they can play an active role in the future they envision for themselves