CCPS- NOAA K-3 Literacy Project

This portion of the NOAA B-WET project integrates quality nonfiction and fiction books and writing with outdoor discovery activities in the schoolyard to simultaneously develop language arts and environmental literacy skills.

Foundations for MWEE engagement are established and the rigor of MWEE engagement in grades 4-12 increase through use of environmental literacy as an instructional theme in grades K-3. 

Beginning in kindergarten and scaffolding through high school, students will learn about the properties of water and its importance for life on Earth and about watershed systems, including components, functions, natural resources, natural and human impacts, and ways these impacts can be mitigated. Integrating knowledge and skills from a variety of disciplines, students will investigate environmental and watershed systems in four main content areas.

Each school year, grade K-3 students will develop environmental literacy through reading National Geographic Science books and engaging in investigations tied to that book’s theme, including at least one outdoor learning experience led by their grade-level teachers.

Emphasis will be on engagement in authentic, outdoor-based, data-driven field experiences to provide an investigative and systems-thinking foundation in preparation for MWEE in upper elementary, middle, and high school years.

Project Elements

Integrated reading (nonfiction and fiction books) 

This presentation/slide show highlights numerous books (both purchased and readily available at libraries) that can be used to enhance literacy by connecting outdoor learning experiences to level-appropriate books and school curricula. The presentation provides examples of outdoor activities and journal suggestions for each book. 

National Geographic Books for Blandy and CCPS K-3 Project Presentation 

Additional Book and Outdoor classroom pairings can be found in this presentation.

Note: These presentations are tailored to Clarke County Public Schools, VA. References to library info are local to that area.

Click on the links below for outdoor investigation lesson plans. 

Educators developed or adjusted outdoor learning activities to weave together literacy and science-based discovery. Lessons were modeled during professional learning days and then modified for teaching to specific grade levels and school settings. 

Letters and Leaves (K)

The Shape of Things from Project Learning Tree (K) 

Weather Fun (1st) 

Yummy Plants (1st)

What Kind of Weather (1st & 2nd)

Water is Water (2nd)

Animal Adaptations (3rd)

Color Crazy from Project WILD (3rd) 


All K-3 students in this project used journals to record their observations of nature and connect the outdoors to their readings. Teachers used the journals to assess student growth during the project.  

This project is funded through an award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, Award # NA18NMF4570315