Welcome to Project Crystal! During this virtual program, you are invited to help UC Irvine, Crystal Cove State Park, and Crystal Cove Conservancy study the best way to help seedlings grow. Project Crystal participants will learn about the real-life challenges we face in protecting Moro Canyon as they investigate scientific questions, design a model, set up an experiment, analyze data, and finally create a recommendation for Crystal Cove State Park.
The program, designed to address Next Generation Science Standards for fifth grade, addresses concepts such as plant ecology, the water cycle, and how we can use science ideas to protect our wild places. It is divided into twelve sessions, which consist of 60-90 minutes of investigations, including an optional Explore at Home extension.
How to Join
Program materials are available below. We have also set up the program on Google Classroom, which you can join by registering for a free Google Education Account. Once registered, enter the Classroom Code acvelwv to join.
- Getting Started & Program Overview [Spanish Version]
- Welcome Video for New Students
- Welcome Video for Returning Students
- Tips for Science Facilitators [Spanish Version]
- Materials & Supplies [Spanish Version]
Session 1: Welcome to Moro Canyon
- Introduction: Crystal Cove State Park’s Moro Canyon
- Investigation: What plants and animals live in Moro Canyon?
- Explore at Home Extension: What plants and animals are around your home?
- Discussion: Do you think that Moro Canyon is a place worth protecting? Why or why not?
Session 2: Moro Canyon’s Changing Landscape
- Introduction: Changing Landscapes in Moro Canyon
- Investigation: How has the landscape changed?
- Dig Deeper
- Explore at Home Extension: What human impacts can you find in your neighborhood?
- Discussion: How can we restore degraded areas in Moro Canyon?
Session 3: Introduction to Our Research Project
- Introduction: Meet Dr. Sarah Kimball!
- Investigation: What is our research question?
- Explore at Home Extension: How are people helping plants grow in your neighborhood?
- Discussion: Which type of mulch will be more effective at helping our seedlings grow?
Session 4: Designing a Model
- Introduction: Meet Lana Nguyen!
- Brainstorming: What affects the growth of seedlings?
- Investigation Option 1: Make a Paper Model
- Investigation Option 2: Make a Computer Model
- Explore at Home Extension: Go on a photo scavenger hunt!
- Discussion: Based on your model, will seedlings grow more in areas with mulch or without mulch?
Session 5: Thinking About Plants & Water
- Introduction: How Do Plants Use Water?
- Investigation: What Happens if Plants Don’t Get Enough Water?
- Dig Deeper
- Explore at Home Extension: Transpiration Investigation
- Discussion: How do these new ideas about plants and water connect to our research question?
Session 6: Thinking About Photosynthesis
- Introduction: What Happens During Photosynthesis?
- Investigation: What is Photosynthesis?
- Dig Deeper
- Explore at Home Extension: Leaf Rubbings
- Discussion: How do these new ideas about photosynthesis connect to our research question?
Session 7: Thinking About the Water Cycle
- Introduction: How Does Water Move Through Moro Canyon?
- Investigation: What happens during the Water Cycle?
- Dig Deeper
- Explore at Home Extension: Soil Percolation Investigation
- Discussion: How do these new ideas about the water cycle connect to our research question?
Session 8: Revising Our Model & Making a Hypothesis
- Introduction: Making a Hypothesis
- Investigation Part 1: Revising Your Model
- Investigation Part 2: Making a Hypothesis
- Discussion: What is your hypothesis?
Session 9: Designing the Study & Collecting Data
- Introduction: Designing & Collecting Data
- Investigation Part 1: Designing the Study
- Investigation Part 2: Recording Data
- Discussion: What do you predict you’ll find in the data?
Session 10: Analyzing & Graphing Data
- Introduction: Analyzing & Graphing Data
- Investigation: Analyzing Our Data
- Dig Deeper (Optional): Checking for Statistical Significance
- Discussion: Did your graph support your hypothesis?
Session 11: Constructing a Recommendation
- Introduction: Making a Recommendation to Crystal Cove State Park
- Investigation: Designing Our Recommendation
- Dig Deeper (Optional): Critiquing Our Recommendation
- Discussion: What is your recommendation for Crystal Cove State Park?
Session 12: Sharing Our Findings