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|Project Title: ||Amphibian/Reptile Research|
|School Year: ||2006|
|School - District:||Hudson High - Hudson|
|Contact Name:||Peter Vacchina|
|Content-Area(s):||Science & Technology|
|Grades:||10, 11, 12|
|Brief Description of SL Project: |
Our AP Environmental and Environmental Chemistry classes have initiated a Herpetology project, modeled after field research experience in which students have participated with EarthWatch scientists in the Pantanal, Brazil.This project is in its second year and is designed to engage and facilitate student experiences in field research along the Assabet River. In the two years previous to the Herpetology Project, we conducted Track Trap Project as a method to collect base-line data on animal species in the wetlands along the Assabet River at the back of the High School.
|The Community Need the Project is Meeting:|
To increase community awareness of global environmental issues. The following statements are concerns for the school-community development: Amphibians populations are on the decline in our area. Snapping turtles are laying eggs on the Hudson High campus. Amphibians and Reptiles are indicative of an environment’s health, therefore labeled indicator species; Amphibians and reptiles are important to ecosystems because they provide predatory control of insects and are vital to the wetlands food chain; This research works to collect data concerning the decline of amphibian and reptile populations in our wetlands by the Assabet River.
|Service Component: |
Students involved with the projects will be contributing to the overall understanding of the Assabet ecosystem. Students will be helping the community by increasing awareness in the community and by conserving the plant and animal-life. The students will be studying the flora and fauna of the town and find ways to make the ecosystem healthier, and look more aesthetic. The students will be informing different classes about their research and the techniques the students used. Students will be donating portions of their classroom time to contribute to the progress of field research.
50 hours of service; whole community of 18,000 as well as environmental; recognition by school committee and local community partners is part of the community impact.
|Connections with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: |
Broad Concept: Ecology is the interaction between living organisms and their environment:
6.1 Explain how biotic and abiotic factors cycle in an ecosystem (water, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen).
6.2 Use a food web to identify and distinguish producers, consumers, and decomposers, and explain the transfer of energy through trophic levels.
6.3 Identify the factors in an ecosystem that influence fluctuations in population size.
6.4 Analyze changes in an ecosystem resulting from natural causes, changes in climate, human activity, or introduction of non-native species.
6.5 Explain how symbiotic behavior produces interactions within ecosystems.
|How Youth Voice Helps Shape Project:|
This research project is very student-driven and students carry a major burden of the project on themselves developing protocols and techniques. The student groups decided what tasks to engage in on a daily basis. Students engaged in the assigning of tasks and other responsibilities with their peers, and all the student members became deeply invested in the scientific research.
Involvement in this project enables students to effectively use the scientific method not only in field research, but in day to day activities. This allows students to fully exercise critical thinking skills, regardless of the situation facing the. Students also use inductive reasoning to reach conclusions from the data they gather during the experiments. Scientific research highlights how changes in technology can play vital role in our local and regional community.
|Student Reflection Component: |
Students keep journals that include their reflections on their work and its impact on the immediate environment as well as in regard to scientific thinking and problem-solving in more general terms. Student responses are included in the articles in the district newsletter summer edition of Visions.
There will be extensive amounts of documentation done during the project. Students will be taking photographs and video footage throughout the research. The students will also be recording quantitative data in either a journal or notebook. Students will also be taking down positional data using GPS, and then using mapping software to plot the data on a map. This data will be posted on the web in an unalterable form and can be used by other educators. The written conclusion will be sent for publication in the Hudson highlights, and the video footage will be submitted for airing on HUD TV.
|Community Partners Involved: |
Hudson Conservation Commission and Hudson Department of Public Works
|Demonstration/Celebration of Students' Work: |
CSL Fair in June in Hudson was one celebration activity where this project was highlighted.
|Evaluation of Project’s Impact:|
Students and faculty involved with this project might have measured the projects’ impact by surveying various community members, whose awareness was aimed at being increased through the project. Students and faculty might have also led focus group discussions with the various classes they were to meet with to present their findings as a way to observe the impact on their peers.
|Challenges/Solutions Identified by District:|
Sufficient time to devote to outdoor studies beyond the 90 minute block and continuing need for financial resources for the scientific equipment as the program moves forward with the creation of a research site along the Assabet River.
* 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.