Welcome to Project Crystal!

Three students gather around a research plot at the Project Crystal research site, recording their observations on a clipboard.

During this environmental education program, fifth grade scientists are invited to take part in ecological research in Crystal Cove State Park’s Moro Canyon!

As young scientists help Crystal Cove Conservancy, Crystal Cove State Park, and UC Irvine study the best way to restore native habitats, they’ll learn about concepts like, plant ecology, food web dynamics, and how we can use science ideas to protect our wild places.

This program is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards for fifth grade. The curriculum includes six learning modules, each with 2-3 hours of flexible activities to incorporate into your online or in-person classroom. The program also includes two optional in-person or virtual field trips so that your students can connect with Crystal Cove Conservancy staff in the field in Moro Canyon.

Please visit our field trip page for information on booking in-person field trips.

How to Join

The Project Crystal curriculum is available for free for everyone! If you are a teacher or homeschool educator and would like to join Project Crystal for the 2023-2024 school year, please complete this survey and let us know.

If you have any questions about the program, feel free to contact Georges Edouard, Education Coordinator, by emailing georges@crystalcove.org.

Teacher Professional Development

We highly recommend that all teachers, educators, and parents who will be facilitating Project Crystal attend two professional development sessions.  The “Welcome to Project Crystal” training gives an introduction to the Project Crystal research project and curriculum.  The “Project Crystal Data Analysis” training gives you a crash course in supporting your scientists in thinking about how best to represent data through statistics, making graphs, and using their graphs as evidence to support a recommendation. Teachers who are planning to participate in in-person field trips are strongly encouraged to attend an in-person training in Moro Canyon!

2023-2024 Training Dates:


In-person workshops (recommended for teachers participating in field trips):

Project Crystal Curriculum

If you want to check out the pervious Project Crystal program, check out the 2020-2021 project page here! 

Teacher & Educator Resources

Module 1: Exploring Moro Canyon

Module 1 Lesson Guide (PDF)


  • Virtual Explore Part 1: Video Field Trip – Moro Canyon’s Changing Landscape (contact georges@crystalcove.org to book)

Module 2: Making a Model

Module 2 Lesson Guide (PDF)

Module 3: Digging Deeper (optional)

Module 3 Lesson Guide (PDF)

  • Reflect : What is something new you learned that you are going to add to your model?

Module 4: Making Our Hypothesis

Module 4 Lesson Guide (PDF)

Module 5: Collecting Our Data

Module 5 Lesson Guide (PDF)

  • Reflect: What did you observe at the research site? What do you think our next step should be, how can we answer our research questions?

Module 6: Analyzing Our Data

Module 6 Lesson Guide (PDF)

  • Reflect: What trends did you see in the data? What is your recommendation to the land managers at Crystal Cove State Park?

Module 7: Designing an Experiment at Your School

Module 7 Lesson Guide

  • Reflect: What plant adaptation did you compare? What plant at your school had the most bird attacks on clay caterpillars?
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