Kelsey MacMillan, Grade 8 Teacher, Milk River Elementary, Milk River, Alberta

“I learned about the [Caring for Our Watersheds] project through our local watershed council. As a teacher, I find that there is not enough time in the year to do project-based learning, however project-based learning is the way of the future and the way that we are supposed to be teaching students. When I found this project, extremely excited to see how well it fit in with the curriculum of our grade 8. I decided to have the students do this watershed project as part of their final grade for our water unit. I had 30 students in my class this year. When I gave them this project, I allowed them to decide what it was they wanted to talk about. I wanted them to research something that meant more to them than just what the textbook told them. I wanted them to be able to look within our own community and area and find problems they thought needed to be fixed. I gave the students two weeks in science class and computer class to complete this project. I have never seen my students actually put so much pride into one project. Although it was something that didn’t necessarily appeal to everyone, all of my students put in quite an effort, because this is a project that hit home for them. They were able to look around our community of Milk River, around their homes, around their farms and see things that they would be able to change themselves. I know that my students put a lot more time and thought into this project than they would have put into studying for a final exam. I know that they were motivated because this was a major mark for them but they were also motivated by the fact that there was a chance to win money. Let’s face it all students like the idea of winning a little cash! I was extremely proud to find out that six of my students made the finals. My students were nervous about speaking in front of the panel of judges in a roomful of other people, however, I think that this experience was amazing for them. The students had completed speeches as well as a PowerPoint that outlined what our watershed is, a problem found here locally, the solution to that problem, and a budget as to what they would need to be able to put this project into place. Out of my six students that made it to the finals, three of them placed in the top three positions. I truly believe the reason for this is because they were allowed to do a project based on something they knew. I would recommend this project to absolutely any teacher in junior high. Not only does it have its science curriculum, but it would also fit under a social current events curriculum. I know from experience that my students have never felt as much success in one school project. Thank you Nutrien for making this happen!”