Access guidance for developing field experiences for students and explore our resources to learn more about the frameworks and support we offer.


PEI workshops include FieldSTEM® guides for educators providing frameworks for how to implement rigorous, integrated, outdoor field experiences with students. Our guides are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and are available for free download.

Field Investigations
with NGSS

Field Investigations<br />with NGSS

Field Investigations helps teachers develop and implement locally relevant opportunities to engage students in core subject instruction using natural settings—a framework that increases students’ problem solving abilities and motivation to learn science.

FieldDesign: Engineering Design for Field-Based Applications K-5

FieldDesign: Engineering Design for Field-Based Applications K-5

FieldDesign: Engineering Design for Field-Based Applications K-5 is a meaningful platform to engage students in engineering with a real problem to solve so they applying their research and analytical skills to understand situations in a deeper way. 

FieldDesign: Engineering Design for Field-Based Applications 6-12

FieldDesign: Engineering Design for Field-Based Applications 6-12

FieldDesign: Engineering Design for Field-Based Applications 6-12 is a meaningful platform to engage students in engineering with a real problem to solve so they applying their research and analytical skills to understand situations in a deeper way. 

Designing High Impact Field Experiences

Designing High Impact Field Experiences

Designing High Impact Field Experiences are some of the most meaningful learning opportunities a student will have throughout his or her educational career. This book guides educators to consider learning goals, locations and partners, activities, adjacent lessons and logistics that will help maximize the positive impact of a field experience.

Fostering Outdoor Observation Skills

Fostering Outdoor Observation Skills

Fostering Outdoor Observation Skills guides teachers to develop observation skills with students by observing the “book of nature.”

FieldSTEM Science Notebooks Supplement

FieldSTEM Science Notebooks Supplement

FieldSTEM Science Notebooks is a supplement for implementing notebooks to promote the development of ELA and math skills, scientific reasoning and social competency.

Learning Model

Project-Based<br />Learning Model

Project-Based Learning Model provides resources and examples through an 8-step model.

Schoolyard Biodiversity

Schoolyard Biodiversity

Schoolyard Biodiversity is targeted to elementary and middle schools. These guidelines teach educators how to engage students in the investigation of biodiversity in their own schoolyard using field investigation methodologies.

Photo Point Monitoring

Photo Point Monitoring

Photo Point Monitoring: Using Technology in Field Investigations to Monitor Change Over Time is intended to provide formal and nonformal educators a tool to bring technology into outdoor experiences and field investigations.

Landscape Investigation Guidelines

Landscape Investigation Guidelines

Landscape Investigation Guidelines challenges K-12 students to integrate science and social science inquiry by applying spatial thinking, which mirrors scientists’ practices as they make decisions that impact natural resources on landscapes.

Sustainable Tomorrow

Sustainable Tomorrow

Sustainable Tomorrow demonstrates how to apply systems thinking and problem solving tools employed by natural resource managers using lessons from Project Learning Tree (PLT), Project WILD and Project WET. 

Technology for Field Investigations

Technology for Field Investigations

Technology for Field Investigations provides tools for educators to engage students in designing and conducting their own field investigations mirroring the practices of professional scientists.

ELA & Math Performance Tasks

Our ELA and math performance tasks use environmental problems or issues as the context while students apply age-appropriate math or English language arts (ELA) skills of reading, writing and researching to complete the work. Performance tasks are tailored to assist educators in integrating locally relevant, complex texts with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core while providing frameworks for constructing meaningful field experiences for students. Included are examples of teacher-created locally relevant performance tasks.

We have also edited several of our original ELA performance tasks to align with the format of the SBAC. These SBAC practice tasks provide specific instructions for administration and SBAC scoring rubrics. Click on the SBAC Practice Tasks Introduction link to learn more about how to utilize these practice tasks in your classroom.

K-3 Schoolyard Investigations

PEI has just published the newest series of our learning materials. These Schoolyard Investigations focus on particular units of investigation tailored to grades Kindergarten through Third grade. You will find both English and Spanish versions below to meet your specific classroom needs.

Solutions Oriented Learning (SOL) Storylines

Read About PEI’s SOLS Success Stories

Solutions Oriented Learning Storylines (SOLS) is a state-wide project focusing on Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and climate science under Washington State’s Climate Science (ClimeTime) proviso. Pacific Education Institute is one of 16 grantees being supported by the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to facilitate climate science professional learning opportunities for K-12 public school educators. 

The Solutions Oriented Learning Storylines (SOLS) project is designed to strengthen teachers’ equitable climate science instruction through locally relevant storylines. 

All storylines include six criteria: 

  1. Strategies to work with local tribes to center Indigenous ways of knowing;
  2. 3-D NGSS assessment tools to demonstrate student growth;
  3. Strategies and tools for formative assessment to strengthen inclusive teacher instruction for all learners;
  4. Locally, relevant, place-based topics;
  5. Lessons to calculate and implement solutions to draw down greenhouse gases and,
  6. Strategies to elevate student voice.

The work is designed to have the following outcomes: 

  1. Increased teacher understanding of locally relevant climate science content and research;
  2. Increased teacher comfort around, and preparation for implementing culturally responsive practice for diverse student groups (e.g. Indigenous, multilingual learners, English language learners, migrant, rural, students of color);
  3. Increased teacher comfort and confidence using formative assessment and equitable instructional approaches to guide instruction and report student growth.

Read more about the approach behind the SOLS

Download PEI’s SOLS 

CTE Frameworks

Statewide CTE Forest Management Framework

The Forest Management framework was developed by PEI in collaboration with teachers from 5 school districts (Aberdeen, Kalama, Shelton, South Bend and the Muckleshoot Tribal School), Pac Mtn. Workforce Development Council, Port Blakely, Green Diamond Resources, Sierra Pacific, WA Dept. of Natural Resources, and Rayonier. The framework outlines forest management based on the Washington Forest Practices Act providing students an in-depth learning experience about how private, public and Tribal forests in the state are managed. Students that meet the requirements in the course can earn dual credit with their high school and Grays Harbor College or Green River College Forestry programs.

9 units – 180 hours: preparatory course eligible for 1 lab science credit.

Course Equivalency Letter from Superintendent

Course Equivalency Background

More PEI Teaching Materials

Check out all of PEI’s additional thematic units of study that can be integrated into any classroom. To determine which will work best in your classroom, we encourage educators to explore the curricular units below.

“Making Forest Connections” below correlates the WA Forest Education K-12 Learning Framework to education standards, activities and resources.

Project Learning Tree (PLT), Project WILD & Project WET

Activity Guides for Teachers

PEI is an access point for three widely recognized national environmental education programs. Through hands-on interdisciplinary activities, K-12 students investigate environmental concepts, problems or issues encouraging them to make informed decisions. These activity guides are available mostly through workshops. Visit each program’s website for more information.

PLT Washington

Using the forest as a “window to the world,” Project Learning Tree inspires and empowers students. The program easily adapts to meet local needs such as local investigations, service learning projects and partnerships with community-based resource professionals. PLT is the environmental education program of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. PEI sponsors PLT in Washington and serves as the State Coordinator.

Visit the National PLT website and the PLT Washington website.

Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies - Project WILD

Project WILD is based on the premise that young people and their educators have a vital interest in learning about the earth as home for people and wildlife. Activities within the guides cover topics ranging from wildlife as small as a microscopic organism to as large as a blue whale. This is a program of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA). PEI serves as the Western Washington State Coordinator. The Franklin Conservation District, the Eastern Washington Coordinator, maintains a calendar of upcoming Project Wild Workshops.

Visit the National Project WILD website.

Project WET - Water Education for Teachers

People’s relationship to water is a major theme of Project WET. Project WET’s activity guides are a collection of innovative water-related activities that are hands-on, easy to use and fun. This is a program of the Project WET International Foundation.

Visit the National Project WET website.

Washington Invasive Species Council

The Washington Invasive Species Council is a cooperative of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Established by the Legislature in 2006 and then extended until 2022, the council was tasked with providing policy level direction, planning, and coordination for combating harmful invasive species throughout the state and preventing the introduction of others that may be harmful.


Washington Pest Watch

Scotch broom, mussels, and beetles – oh my! Invasive Species are invading Washington! Pacific Education Institute partners with the Washington Invasive Species Council by offering professional development for educators to support the “Enhancing the First Detector Network.” 

In our workshops, educators become familiar with this state-wide community science (citizen science) project empowering students to identify and report invasive species. Whether in their schoolyards or neighborhoods, they can become “first detectors.” However, educators can access these the “first detector” resources on their own too.

Visit the Washington Pest Watch project website for more information about this project, or to access school curriculum, and other educational materials.

Navigating the Standards

Washington State K–12 Learning Standards

These standards include Tribal Sovereignty, NGSS, Common Core and Environment and Sustainability Education (ESE). These learning standards reflect basic education defined by the Washington State Legislature (RCW 28A.150.210). As required by state law, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) develops the state’s learning standards (RCW 28A.655.070) and oversees their assessment for state and federal accountability purposes.

Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State

The 2015 legislature passed SB5433 requiring the inclusion of Tribal sovereignty curriculum be taught in all schools. The use of the curriculum has been endorsed by all 29 federally recognized Tribes and is available from OSPI’s Office of Native Education.

Environmental and Sustainability Education

The Environmental and Sustainability Education (ESE) program’s purpose is to support academic success and life-long learning, and to develop a responsible citizenry capable of applying knowledge of ecological, economic, and socio-cultural systems to meet current and future needs. Environmental education is a mandatory area of study in Washington, required by WAC 392-410-115.

The state’s K-12 Integrated Environmental and Sustainability Learning Standards describe what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.

OSPI and E3 Washington led the development of the Washington State Environmental and Sustainability Literacy Plan. PEI participated on the steering committee. 

Sustainable Design Project is a statewide interdisciplinary project bringing industry, business, community and higher education partners together with K-12 students to design sustainable solutions to real-world challenges. PEI participated on the steering committee.

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

These are the national K–12 science standards. Standards set the expectations for what students are expected to know and be able to accomplish. The NGSS were developed by states to improve science education for all students. Washington State adopted NGSS in 2013. NGSS shifts classroom instruction from a traditional model of teaching content to an expectation that students meet performance expectations that weave science practices and cross-cutting concepts with content (disciplinary core ideas).

K-12 English Language Arts Learning Standards

Washington formally adopted the Washington State K-12 Learning Standards (Common Core State Standards) for English language arts and mathematics. Assessments for these standards are currently in place.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium

The Smarter Balanced Assessment System is a key part of implementing the Common Core State Standards and preparing all students for success in college and career. Developed in collaboration with K-12 teachers and higher education faculty, these new assessments provide an academic check-up and are designed to give teachers better information to help students succeed.