Water Rocks! Debuts Outdoor Classroom Programs

School visits feature interactive, science-based lessons

September 18, 2020, 9:41 am | Liz Ripley

AMES, Iowa – The Water Rocks! educational program for youth is offering outdoor programming at schools, in response to the social distancing requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The newly formatted program debuted Sept. 15 at Mayflower Heritage Christian School in Creston and Aurora Heights Elementary in Newton, the following day.

The Water Rocks! team has created a turnkey program that can be delivered at school sites while complying with Iowa State University, government and school policies for social distancing and safety.

children hopping in game.Comparable to bringing a field trip to the school, Water Rocks! presents grade-level targeted, high-energy, science-based lessons that augment classroom curricula.

The Water Rocks! educators have adapted learning materials, teaching methods, hands-on activities and games for socially distanced outdoor learning. Providing everything needed to deliver the programs, Water Rocks! brings chairs, tables, sound amplification equipment and all materials – eliminating demands on the school staff.

“Water Rocks! has been bringing science-based educational programming to Iowa schools for more than a decade, and we are committed to continuing to support schools and teachers through these flexible and slightly modified delivery methods,” said Jacqueline Comito, Water Rocks! executive director and director of Iowa Learning Farms at Iowa State University. “Inside a classroom or auditorium, or outdoors on a playground, engaging students in learning about their environment, water issues and natural resources, is a mission that is crucial to helping build a culture of conservation in Iowa and beyond.”

Working outdoors helps ensure compliance with strict restrictions on school visits and field trips many schools are implementing. Water Rocks! relies on its extensive experience with outdoor programming, garnered from its Conservation Station trailer activities in public venues, to deliver a COVID-safe educational experience for all participants.

Schools can select from four education modules:

  • Natural Resources (Grades K-2)
  • Watershed (Grades 3-8)
  • Wetlands (Grades 3-8)
  • Pollinators (Grades 4-8)

During the fall 2020 semester, these Water Rocks! programs are provided to schools at no cost, thanks to Water Rocks! donors and funding partners.

Teachers and administrators interested in scheduling  or learning more about a free Water Rocks! visit to their school should contact Water Rocks! through its website, https://www.waterrocks.org/school-visits.


Original photo: Children hopping outdoors.

About the Authors: 

Liz Ripley

Iowa Learning Farms and Water Rocks!