Manzo Elementary

At Manzo, we empower children to be future leaders. With innovative math and science initiatives and project-based learning, like our hands-on ecology project complete with on-site garden, greenhouse and animal habitat, our students become critical thinkers, problem solvers and lifelong learners.

Offering your child…

  • Leadership development
  • Hands-on learning
  • Ecology focused education
  • English language development for grades K-5

From the time students enter to the time they graduate, Manzo Elementary develops the whole student—preparing each child for greater heights of education, achievement and global citizenship.

Go Manzo. The greenest elementary school on the planet — the pride of TUSD.

Science Will Save the World! Episode 3: We’ve Got Chemistry! (Acid and Base Experiment) with Jessie Rack

Science Will Save the World! Episode 3: We’ve Got Chemistry! (Acid and Base Experiment)

With Jessie Rack

Today we are exploring the wonderful world of chemistry with an acid-base experiment. Using household ingredients, we create a reaction that (if we’re lucky) makes a Ziploc bag explode!


1/2 cup Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Baking Soda

Ziploc bag Paper towel (ripped into a square)

3/4 cup water

Food coloring (optional)


Atom – the teeny-tiny building blocks that make up all matter in the universe. Kind of like Legos.

Ion – atoms or groups of atoms with an electrical charge, either positive or negative.

Acids and Bases – special chemicals that contain lots of ions, which makes them want to react with each other. Acids have lots of positive ions; bases have lots of negative ions.

*** Higher-Level Science Explanation:

What’s really happening here is a two-part reaction.

n step one, vinegar (acetic acid) reacts with the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to form sodium acetate and carbonic acid.

In step two, the carbonic acid immediately falls apart into carbon dioxide and water. The bubbles you see are the carbon dioxide leaving the solution!

Equation: (for proper notation, see…)

Step 1: Sodium bicarbonate + acetic acid → sodium acetate + carbonic acid NaHCO3 + HC2H3O2 → NaC2H3O2 + H2CO3

Step 2: Carbonic acid → water + carbon dioxide H2CO3 → H2O + CO2

Once again, this production is brought to you by the University of Arizona’s Community and School Garden Program. And Penny!

Science Will Save the World! Episode 2: Sky Island Field Trip with Jessie Rack

Science Will Save the World! Episode 2: Sky Island Field Trip

With Jessie Rack

The word of the day is biome! You can think of a biome as a “nature zone” – a zone that’s defined by what kind of plants live there. Mountains in the Sonoran Desert are special because they are sky islands – as you go up the mountain, it gets cooler and wetter, which means the nature zones change with elevation. Let’s go on a field trip up a sky island in Arizona! Biomes we experience today: Desert Grassland Deciduous Forest (trees that lose their leaves. This one is an oak forest) Chaparral Coniferous Forest (trees with needles) Can you draw your own sky island? Draw a mountain where the nature changes as you go up it. Feel free to use your imagination! I’d love to see what you come up with.

This video was filmed at various points on Babad Do’ag, also known as Mount Lemmon, in Tucson, Arizona. Once again, this production is brought to you by the University of Arizona’s Community and School Garden Program. And Penny!

PS: Most of what I know about sky islands was gained by reading A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert, published by the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum ( Interested in learning more about sky islands or about conserving these amazing places? Check out Sky Island Alliance (

Science Will Save the World! Episode 1: How to Make a Homemade Magnifying Glass

Science Will Save the World! Episode 1: How to Make a Homemade Magnifying Glass

With Jessie Rack

Stuck at home? Why not do some science? Today, with the help of Penny the Cat, I demonstrate how to make a homemade magnifying glass with things you probably have around the house. I’ll also explain how it works – through the science of vision and light, and the power of lenses.

Come for the science, stay for the awkward sound effects and the time Penny knocks stuff off the couch. This production brought to you by the University of Arizona’s Community and School Garden Program. And Penny!


Nature Play Learning (Statewide)

Nature Play Learning offers design consultations, professional development, and project management services to help you maximize the potential of nature play landscapes from concept to installation to pedagogy and use. A design consultation with NaturePlayLearning will begin your site’s journey toward a sustainable, safe, and sensory-filled naturescape perfect for connecting any age to nature. As your process of transformation is underway, I offer professional development and front line delivery appropriate for all levels of stakeholders from the kids themselves to the staff to the administrators and funders. Presentations and workshops can include any aspect of nature play design, planning and use. I will work with you to decide what will directly meet your site’s and your audiences’ needs.


McDowell Sonoran Conservancy (Scottsdale)

The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy is a non-profit organization that champions the sustainability of the largest urban preserve in North America. More than 30,500 protected acres, known as Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve, are enjoyed by 750,000 hikers, mountain bikers and equestrian riders each year. As stewards, we connect the community to the Preserve through education, research, advocacy, partnerships and respectful access. McDowell Sonoran Conservancy offers programs for grade school, high school, higher education, citizen science and more.

Up in the Air: an Air Pollution Education Program

"Up in the Air" Education Program Brochure“Up in the Air: an Air Pollution Education Program” is designed around the big idea that our actions impact air quality in both positive and negative ways.

This environmental education program engages K-5th Grade students in hands-on learning activities designed to promote collaboration and critical thinking skills.

Main Goal of “Up in the Air” Education Program

The main goal of “Up in the Air: an Air Pollution Education Program” is to educate elementary students and their families about the importance of clean air. Kids learn simple actions they can take to help improve local air quality so we can all live, work, and play in a healthy environment.

Air Pollution Topics Covered in “Up in the Air”:

  • Properties of Air
  • Common Air Pollutants
  • Sources of Air Pollution
  • Monitoring Air Quality
  • Health Effects of Air Pollution
  • Reducing Air Pollution

Program Materials for K-5th Grade are Available!

The “Up in the Air: an Air Pollution Education Program” provides elementary environmental educators with inquiry-based, hands-on air pollution lessons within two units for K-2nd Grade and 3rd-5th Grade.

Each “Up in the Air” Unit Includes:

  • 6 to 8 air quality lesson plans aligned to current Arizona academic standards for science, English/language arts, math, and social studies
  • Key vocabulary
  • Essential questions to focus student learning
  • Detailed instructions for each investigation
  • Blackline masters for all lab sheets and assessments
  • Websites, videos, and other online tools
  • Digital lessons for interactive SMART boards

“Up in the Air” Classroom Investigation Lab Activity Example

This lab instructions tutorial video explains how to model pollution dispersion using water and food dye. This lab activity is taken from the 3rd-5th Grade Unit, Lesson Four of “Up in the Air” Education Program.

Additional “Up in the Air” Resources for Maricopa County Educators:

  • Resource kits, containing all materials needed to teach the unit, are available for check-out from the Maricopa County Air Quality Department
  • A 45-minute hands-on classroom presentation provided by the Maricopa County Air Quality Dept.
"Up in the Air" Education Program Resource Kits

“Up in the Air” Education Program Resource Kits

For “Up in the Air” education program resource kits and other air quality learning materials, please contact the Education Outreach Coordinator for the Maricopa County Air Quality Dept.

Jenny Frank, Education Outreach Coordinator for the Maricopa County Air Quality DepartmentJenny Frank
Education Outreach Coordinator
Maricopa County Air Quality Department
(602) 506-6355

Environmental Education Video Content Provided by
Jenny Frank, Education Outreach Coordinator for the Maricopa County Air Quality Department

"Kids Making Sense" Flyer

Kids Making Sense is a global environmental education program that empowers the next generation of citizen scientists, developed by Sonoma Technology, Inc. Discover how students can use portable air quality sensors to measure particle pollution at their school!

Maricopa County Air Quality Department is bringing this innovative STEM program to schools in Maricopa County at no cost. To learn more, contact

NEEF | Environmental Literacy Report 2015

Environmental educators have an unprecedented opportunity to create a more environmentally literate citizenry — a citizenry equipped with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to tackle the environmental, social, and economic challenges that we face today and in the future.

USA National Phenology Network and Nature’s Notebook Citizen Science Program

Observing phenology, or plant and animal life cycle events, through Nature’s Notebook citizen science program from the USA National Phenology Network offers place-based, hands-on learning opportunities, provides a collaborative platform for site-based educators, and promotes cross-subject engagement while addressing standards of learning.  Their formal and non-formal education resources can be used to help students of all ages plug into real-world scientific research questions addressed by many researchers, natural resource, land manager and educational groups. Phenology is an excellent lens for teaching about the natural world.

Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research (Tucson)

The primary mission of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research is to remain in the forefront of world dendrochronology through the use of tree rings as natural chronometers and recorders of change in the environment with which human society is inescapably linked. The Laboratory makes significant contributions to understanding natural environmental variability in climatic, hydrologic, geomorphic, and ecological systems.

They are committed to promoting public awareness (and understanding) of science and making informal contributions to science education. As part of their Outreach program, they strive to inspire new connections and nurture existing connections among our community, which includes visitors to and residents of Tucson, and the K-12 educators and students communities.