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|Project Title: ||The River Project|
|School Year: ||2006|
|School - District:||Drury High - North Adams|
|Contact Name:||Chris Wondoloski|
|Content-Area(s):||English Language Arts, Science & Technology|
|Brief Description of SL Project: |
Under the guidance of and in collaboration with veteran biology teacher Mr. Wondoloski, first year chemistry teacher Katie Babeu and second year earth science teacher Mr. Lewitt joined forces to expand a fifteen-year tradition of assessing the health of the Hoosic River. Seventy-six 9th, 10th and 11th grade students applied science, math and technology skills to determine the biological, chemical and geophysical traits of the river by collecting soil, water and bug samples from three different areas of the north branch of the Hoosic. Students then sorted, graphed and analyzed samples and specimens under a microscope to more carefully interpret their results. Several eighth grade students from the near by K-8 school in Southern Vermont, a feeder school to Drury, were invited to join the outing. Results were shared with local select boards, school committees and outdoorsmen clubs to report safety and recreational viability of the river. Results indicated pristine conditions!
|The Community Need the Project is Meeting:|
Over the years various concerns have been expressed by local watershed management, the Department of Environmental Management, and parks and recreaction about the general health of the river for fishing and swimming as well as environmental impacts. The annual testing of the river has become and integral part of the science curriculum at the high school.
|Service Component: |
Students analyzed and graphed their results to create written reports and power points that were shared with local school committees, select boards, and recreational organizations.
|Connections with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: |
Students in all science content areas engaged in practice testing in a variety of contrived conditions i.e.: using several types of candies to "sort bugs", then charted and analyzed results. Multiple quizzes were given to assess ongoing mastery of math and science terms and calculations needed for the project.
· Used topographical maps to understand the nature of a watershed
· Conducted benthic macro-invertebrate (BMI) sampling/analysis
· Conducted biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)/productivity tests
· Performed chemical tests (dissolved oxygen, saturation, temp, pH
alkalinity, phosphate, nitrogen, chloride)
· Performed site survey (elevation, water temp, current, stream depth
composition, sedimentation, discharge, canopy, turbidity)
· Wrote a data analysis and compared to ideal conditions
· Created Power Point, Excel chart/graph/narratives to display results
|How Youth Voice Helps Shape Project:|
Students collaborated on projects, investigated biological, chemical and geophysical traits of the river, and interpretted their findings jointly. Group work and leadership increased the student’s learning experience.
|Student Reflection Component: |
Students reflected and reassessed at numerous points of skill development and project progress, largely through discussion or review of skills learned, making connections to previous learning in the sciences.
Students wrote final reflection essays about their experience at the river, their own new learning, and the benefits of the project for the community.
|Community Partners Involved: |
Drury High School students, teachers, K-8 school in Southern Vermont, partners with vested interests over the yesrs- local watershed management, the Department of Environmental Management, and parks and recreaction
|Demonstration/Celebration of Students' Work: |
Students enjoyed the day of the testing at the river sites as both work and celebration. Most were so excited to be applying their skills in the natural environment that it was reward enough. However the day also made room for a picnic and games during the down time.
|Evaluation of Project’s Impact:|
Much of the evaluation of the project was actually data driven. In compiling all test elements from the river, it was clear whether students understood the material learned and its application. Two reporters from the local newspaper visited the sight when the students were in action, and reported the accomplishment from both an educational and a recreational point of view. Student reflections expressed a great deal of pride in their work at the river, and many pleasant surprises about their new found abilities to work in teams with so many respnsibilities.
|Challenges/Solutions Identified by District:|
The primary challenge was coordination of all of the necessary pre-teaching and practice of the separate grade/content science classes, and the worry whether all students would feel prepared to conduct the appropriate tests while using caution for their own safety as well as the equipment.
* NOTE: This project summary was written by the district/community. Any text in italics was added or modified by the Department (ESE). Most of these projects were supported with Learn & Serve America funds distributed through the ESE.