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 help native seedlings grow, they’ll learn about concepts like plant ecology, the water cycle, 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 Virtual Field Trips (also known as videoconferencing sessions) so that your students can connect with Crystal Cove Conservancy staff from the field in Moro Canyon.

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

How to Join

Virtual Project Crystal is free for everyone! If you are a teacher or homeschool educator and would like to join Project Crystal for the 2021-2022 school year, please complete this survey and let us know.

If you have any questions about the program, feel free to contact Kaitlin Magliano, Education Manager, by emailing kaitlin@crystalcove.org.

Teacher Professional Development

We highly recommend that all teachers, educators, and parents who will be facilitating Project Crystal attend two online 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.

Upcoming Training Dates:

If you cannot attend a training, we will post recordings afterwards to watch at your leisure!

Project Crystal Curriculum

Check out the 2020-2021 school year’s curriculum below! The project will be focusing on a new research question for the 2021-2022 school year, and new curriculum will be posted in fall of 2021!

Teacher & Educator Resources

Module 1: Exploring Moro Canyon

Module 1 Lesson Guide

Module 2: Building Our Model

Module 2 Lesson Guide

  • Explore Part 1: Video Field Trip – Introduction to Our Research Project & Modeling

Module 3: Digging Deeper (optional)

Module 3 Lesson Guide 

  • 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

  • Reflect: What is your hypothesis?  What would you expect to observe at our research site if your hypothesis was supported?

Module 5: Collecting Our Data

Module 5 Lesson Guide

  • 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

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