Back to Elementary Project Examples

Project Name: Earth Festival 

Facilitator Names: Heather Lankford

Grade: 3rd

Subject(s): Reading, Writing, Science

Course Name: 3rd Grade


Project Description & Content Topics Addressed: 

Students become environmentalists and create an outdoor space for diverse learning opportunities while learning and teaching others how to care for the earth.  Through informational text, students will be learning about ecosystems and life cycles, as well as protecting the earth. Students will also be working on text features, comparing and contrasting, author’s purpose, and main idea skills. In addition, students will practice their writing skills by composing an informational writing piece by completing the writer’s workshop process. Students also organized data into tables and graphs and counted money.

A. Learning Goals: Content Knowledge & Skills Addressed (Standards)


  • I can develop a model to compare and contrast observations on the life cycle of different plants and animals.

  • I can construct an argument with evidence that in a particular ecosystem some organisms – based on structural adaptations or behaviors – can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive.


  • I can compare and contrast the key elements in various texts.

  • I can support the main idea using details of facts from the text.

  • I can use information gained from illustrations and words to demonstrate understanding of the text.

  • I can explain the author’s purpose.


  • I can apply a writing process to develop a text for audience and purpose.

  • I can write informative/explanatory text that introduces a topic, develops topic with facts, definitions, details and explanations, use content specific words, uses transition words, and creates a conclusion.

B. Driving Question: How can we, as environmentalists, create an outdoor space for the students of SES to experience diverse learning opportunities about our Earth?

C. Entry Event: Students will receive a letter from Julie Graue, from the University of Missouri Extension Office. The following day she will come in to kickoff the first of eight weekly sessions on gardening and recycling. She will challenge students to create projects to promote recycling, reducing, and reusing to share their newly gained knowledge with the other students of Seneca Elementary school.

D. Benchmarks & Scaffolding

E. End Products

  • Each group will plan, design, and create a project in the outdoor learning space.

  • Each group create a presentation, including an activity, display, and handout, of their project for the Earth Festival.

  • Each student will compose an informational writing piece on ecosystems or habitats.

  • Each student will complete a compare and contrast piece on life cycles.

  • Each student will create a graph, chart, or table to display sales data.

  • Each student will create a recycled/repurposed item of their choice a that will be presented to our class and displayed in the hall.

F. Rubric(s)

G. Community Partnerships

  • Julie Graue, University of Missouri Extension Office, will come to our class for eight weekly lesson on topics such as gardening, energy conservation and recycling. She will plant vegetables, create mini compost piles, and plant experiments with the students.

    • MU Extension in Newton County- 18728 Hwy 59 . Neosho, MO 64850

    • Phone: (417) 455-9500/ E-mail:

  • Erimish, a local jewelry company, partnered with us for bracelet sales to raise money to fund their projects. Students were able to give input on which bracelets they selected to sell.

Inquiry: Students will use Need to Knows to drive their research of ecosystems, habitats, and our environment. Students will develop multiple solutions for ways to protect our Earth and teach those solutions to other students at Seneca Elementary School.

Student Voice & Choice


Students had voice and choice in the following aspects of the project: 

  • Choice of project topic for the Earth Festival

  • Choice of materials to create a model of their vision for their project

  • Choice of mode of delivery and activities for project presentations

  • Choice of life cycles for compare and contrast pieces

  • Researched and voted on ways to get funding for projects.

  • When Erimish was selected, they were able to give input on what bracelets to sell.

  • Choice of a graph, table, or chart to display the sales data.

  • Choice of ecosystem or habitat to use in creating an informational writing piece.

  • Choice of recycled/repurposed item to create for presentation.

Authenticity & Relevance (Real-World Connections, Applied Learning, Active Exploration):

Students will:

  • research life cycles of an animal of their choice to compare to the life cycle of a butterfly.

  • research ideas that they will use to create an outdoor space for the students at our school to use.

  • create a habitat.

  • create a presentation to teach SES students how to take care of the earth.

  • create a recycling project

  • collaborate with Erimish to raise money for materials for outdoor areas.

  • organize the bracelets from the sales and deliver the products to the customers.

Employability (21st Century) Skills Addressed:

  • Critical Thinking: Students will be looking for ways to teach others how to take care of the earth as well as life cycles, habitats, and ecosystems.

  • Collaboration: Students will work in groups to create an outdoor space for SES students.

  • Community: Students will create a fundraiser to help pay for materials needed for their outdoor projects. Students will also work with our Community Partner to learn ways to protect our Earth.

  • Communication: Students will be teaching others ways to take care of our Earth. They will be working in groups to complete the project.

  • Creativity: Students will have voice and choice on the details of their presentations and outdoor space.

Formative & Summative Assessment Activities: We are a standards based district. Our students are assessed through the attached rubrics listed above.


Required Materials and/or Tools:

  • Informational text about ecosystems and habitats

  • Devices for research

Students requested items for:

  • Compost Bin

  • Recycling Projects

  • Outdoor Learning Areas

Examples of Student Work

Example #1-Informational Writing Piece

Example #2-Student presenting their repurposed item.

Example # 3-Students’ display for Earth Festival (on recycled/reused display board).

Example #4-Student created outdoor learning spaces.