Environmental Leadership

STEM with a focus on Environmental Leadership

Lyons Elementary’s STEM Program focuses on Environmental Leadership and provides a variety of opportunities for students to engage in critical learning about our natural world. Programs include:

How might we create a successful beehive in our garden that is observable by our school community?

  • Identify pollinators as key contributors to school’s Pollinator Garden
  • Monitor and assess beehive production and health
  • Communicate and share hive progress through school outlets

How might we maximize the amount of food produced in our garden?

  • Contribute pounds of food to Lyons Emergency Assistance Fund (LEAF), our local food pantry
  • Engage in agricultural monitoring with temperature and moisture sensors
  • Improve plant performance with vermicomposting and compost tea
  • Harvest annual produce and assess garden production

How might we design ways to communicate fire and flood prevention and safety in our community?

  • Partner with The Watershed Center and Colorado State Forest Service to investigate fire and flood behavior on our landscapes
  • Design and test strategies to withstand fire and flood
  • Create fire and flood awareness tools for distribution

How might we design enhanced exhibits to inform our community?

  • Dissect and evaluate current museum content and visitor response data
  • Build repertoire of computer science skills to apply towards display and exhibit designs (i.e. webpages, VR experiences, AR artifact investigation, etc.)
  • Design, create, and install elevated museum displays for a public audience

How might we raise trout to successfully be released into the St. Vrain River?

  • Observe and record trout growth from egg to adult
  • Monitor and stabilize tank quality with daily water quality tests, instrument reports, and observation
  • Compare and contrast simulated tank environments with local river conditions
  • Witness trout release in local waterways
  • Participate with local Trout Unlimited chapter to develop trout life cycle awareness and practice fly fishing skills

Units of study are specifically designed to engage students in year-long environmental leadership projects centered around the community and the environment. The program leverages the principles of design thinking, computer science, data literacy, and communication. 

  • Standards-based engagement in a project-based, cooperative environments
  • Student agency through service and authentic scientific engagement
  • Emphasis on reflection and personal goal setting
  • Year-long environmental leadership projects centered around community and environment

Working within a typical classroom setting, students participate in monthly late start sessions and work with our STEM Coordinator biweekly to create a robust and articulated sequence of learning. STEM at Lyons allows for strong engagement, shared expertise among students and adults, and connection to standards, classroom experiences, and life outside school walls.

What do Students Learn?
Students experience hands-on, community-based projects in Environmental Leadership. Each grade level’s project is standards-based and integrates Design Thinking, Data Literacy, and Scientific Practice (collection, synthesis, and communication). Computer science is woven through each project. Students are also exposed to a variety of careers in environmental leadership such as agri-science, river ecology, data science, drone operation, computer programming, and wildland fire mitigation. 

Grade Level Projects

  • Pre-K
    Scientific investigation and inquiry.
  • Kindergarten
    Scientific observation and documentation, building a scientific community with a claim, identification, and classification.
  • 1st Grade
    Building a scientific community with claims and evidence, compare/contrast, scientific diagrams.
  • 2nd Grade
    Identification and classification, using evidence to support a claim, justify actions based on evidence, scientific diagrams with detailed explanations and labels.
  • 3rd Grade
    Using evidence to support a claim, justify actions based on evidence.
  • 4th Grade
    Make a plan of action based on evidence, empathy-based design product for community.
  • 5th Grade
    Identifying problems and designing solutions, evidence and evidence-based design products for community, data-driven experiment creation.

Students participate in lab work every other week for approximately 80 minutes. Labs may take place in classrooms, in the field (community parks), and at the STEM lab at Lyons Senior High School. In the STEM lab environment, students are able to take risks, problem-solve, design, and contribute to a scientific community in safe, productive ways. Teachers act as facilitators alongside students as partners in their own learning trajectories. 

Real-World Experience 
Each year, every grade level presents their year-long learning project to the community through a forum hosted by the Town of Lyons Ecology Committee.

Local Partners
The District has partnered with local organizations to help support the STEM program. Our partners include local agencies such as Thorne Nature Experience, Eco-Cycle, The Watershed Center, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Boulder County Parks and Open Space, Town of Lyons Ecology Board, City of Longmont, CEMEX, St. Vrain Anglers Trout Unlimited, Lyons Elementary PTO, Lyons Community Foundation, and Lyons Emergency Assistance Foundation (LEAF).

To learn more about our environmental program offerings and curriculum, call our front office at 303-823-6915.

Lyons Elementary School