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|Project Title: ||Invasive Species Project|
|School Year: ||2008|
|School - District:||Holten Richmond Middle School - Danvers|
|Contact Name:||John Hodsdon|
|Contact Phone:||(603) 772-1958|
|Content-Area(s):||Science & Technology|
|Community Need:||Education, Environment|
|Brief Description of SL Project: |
Students worked with scientists from the Audubon Society to help to monitor the invasive plant species phragmites. They also looked at how a tidal restriction effect marine species in the salt marsh. In both of these studies, students contributed to ongoing data collection by the Audubon Society. The students then interpreted and graphed the data and prepared a Power Point of their findings. A group of students then presented their findings at a wetlands conference, sharing data with other students and scientists.
|The Community Need the Project is Meeting:|
The community need met by the project was the ongoing monitoring of the spread of phragmites. Students joined a project already begun by the Audubon society so the students contributed to historic data. The students took part in a wetlands conference where other students and scientists presented their data. With this data, students and scientists in the future will further assess the priorities of the project.
|Service Component: |
About twenty five students took part in the actual monitoring project. They spent about 2-3 hours of preparation. They then spent 4 hours in the field doing research. The students then spent about 6-8 hours analyzing data and preparing a presentation. The presentation at the wetlands conference lasted 3 hours. Further presentations to the district and state CSL conference took about 3 hours. The community was served in two different ways. The first was contributing to an ongoing body of knowledge by the Audubon Society that will help all of us to better understand invasive species and their impact. The second is all the people that heard my student's presentation are now more aware of invasive species, tidal restrictions and their impact on our salt marsh environment.
|Connections with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: |
First standard covered:
--Give examples of ways in which organisms interact and have different functions within an ecosystem that enable the ecosystem to survive.
We discussed the impact that an invasive species has on the ecosystem as a whole by looking at native species and graphing the decline of native species with the increase of invasive species such as phragmites.
Second standard covered:
--Identify ways in which ecosystems have changed throughout geologic time in response to physical conditions, interactions among organisms, and the actions of humans. Describe how changes may be catastrophes such as volcanic eruptions or ice storms.
By looking at a tidal restriction we saw how humans have impacted the natural flow of native species. We observed the populations of salt marsh species and how they were effected by human's impact.
The assessment I used to measure my students understanding was their interpretation of the data. The students were able to look at the data from the salt marsh and create a presentation to teach others about the topic. The most telling display of my student's understanding was at the salt marsh conference when scientists and other students asked them questions about our project. Students were able to answer questions to further explain their data and propose possible solutions.
|How Youth Voice Helps Shape Project:|
In this, our first year of the project, the student's voice was mainly heard in interpreting their data and deciding how to present their data in a way that would inform and educate others. As students were creating their presentation, I stood aside and watched my students create an amazing presentation all on their own. We then presented the Power Point three times and after each one, the students voluntarily got together and refined their presentation.
|Student Reflection Component: |
The only form of reflection came during the course of student presentations. This is a part I will continue to build upon in future years.
|Community Partners Involved: |
Elizabeth Duff from the Audubon Society was the person we worked with in this project. Last year she trained another teacher from my middle school team and me. She then came into my classroom to help train students on the equipment they would be using. Ms. Duff also accompanied us on the day of the trip and helped us interpret the data. Ms. Duff worked with my students in almost every aspect of the project and helped me to plan and prepare the project.
|Demonstration/Celebration of Students' Work: |
Students were asked to present their findings at a wetlands conference and then at the state and district CSL Conferences. At the end of all these presentations, students had great experience in presenting to a variety of audiences.
|Evaluation of Project's Impact:|
Students were able to see how their data impacted the body of knowledge about invasive species and salt marsh restriction at the wetlands conference. They heard from other students and scientists about all the similar studies taking place in the north shore. Through this interaction and looking at historical data they saw that the information they collected really mattered and that scientists will now take this data and in the long term try to effect legislation that will benefit our salt marshes.
|Challenges/Solutions Identified by District:|
In this first year of the project there were challenges at each step of the process. The first was the planning of a project for which I had no prior knowledge. I solved this by starting small. I took only 25 volunteer students instead of a full team of 92 students. This also created the difficulty of how to meet with these students and not exclude my other students. I dealt with this by doing most of the training and interpreting during our extra help block and after school. I was lucky to have enthusiastic students who were willing to make these sacrifices to make the project work. Our site also became a major construction site during the planning of our project. This created safety issues which were worked out by Ms. Duff, the foreman and myself.
* 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.