Exploring Watersheds Through Science, Poetry & Watercolor

Second graders at Agua Caliente Elementary School participated in a fully integrated STEAM unit (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) alongside teacher Betsey Robinson and artist Marty Plevel. First students did field studies at Agua Caliente Park in order to make observations about an ecosystem and landscape and learn key concepts about watersheds and wetlands. Marty helped them to see that they each had their own unique ways of seeing the world.

Marty then taught the students how to turn their observations into watercolor landscapes, teaching them techniques to use as they created their own interpretations of what they saw. When completed, students were able to submit their work to Pima County’s Living River of Words contest, a local effort to help students understand watersheds in the area.

Read more in the Arizona Daily Star article.

Project length

1 month


  • "It’s not what you see when you take a photograph, but what you see in your artist’s eye that makes a difference."

    Marty Plevel, Artist
  • "They’re painting desert landscapes and integrating their knowledge on riparian areas and watersheds. It’s really super cool."

    Betsey Robinson, Teacher
  • "It’s fun. We learned about watersheds and plains and what the desert is called."

    Cambry, Student

Image Gallery

Most Recent Projects