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Part Two: Field Investigation of a Local Stream
Karen Spaeth
    3 hours



Lesson created on 10/6/1999 8:37:33 PM EST.
Last modified 8/3/2000 11:11:35 AM EST.


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Abstract  (help)


Through a series of lessons, student will be able to accumulate basic information about water quality, learn how to use water quality testing equipment, communicate with an expert on-line and in person, collect and analyze data, and present their data in a science fair format with a multi-media component. This lesson focuses on acquainting students with water sampling procedures and water testing equipment. The prior lesson gave students some basic information. The next lesson deals with ongoing communication with an expert in the field. Subsequent units deal with the collection, analyzing, and presenting of data.

National Standards  (help)


ABILITIES NECESSARY TO DO SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations. Design and conduct scientific investigations. Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications. UNDERSTANDINGS ABOUT SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY Scientists usually inquire about how physical, living, or designed systems function. Scientists conduct investigations for a wide variety of reasons. For example, they may wish to discover new aspects of the natural world, explain recently observed phenomena, or test the conclusions of prior investigations or the predictions of current theories. Scientists rely on technology to enhance the gathering and manipulation of data. New techniques and tools provide new evidence to guide inquiry and new methods to gather data, thereby contributing to the advance of science. The accuracy and precision of the data, and therefore the quality of the exploration, depends on the technology used. Mathematics is essential in scientific inquiry. Mathematical tools and models guide and improve the posing of questions, gathering data, constructing explanations and communicating results. In addition, the methods and procedures that scientists used to obtain evidence must be clearly reported to enhance opportunities for further investigation.

Pre-requisite Skills  (help)


Students should have completed the first lesson in this unit which gives them basic information about water chemistries. Students should have selected two water chemistries to work on in their group.

Teacher Information  (help)


Since this is a field trip, some prior arrangements must be made (and will vary depending on the school). Prior to the field trip, students should be divided into groups of two or three and should be assigned (or let them choose) two water chemistries with which they would like to establish a link. Possible combinations may be Temp and Nitrates, pH and phosphates, etc. Equipment that you will need will vary depending on the budget. Water testing kits are available from several companies. See acknowledgments and technology requirements for materials used; substitute as necessary.

Assessment  (help)


As a culminating activity for this field trip, have students write an essay about their experience. See student activity. A rubric is provided for ease in grading.

Student Activity  (help)


Field Trip to Feeder Stream This field trip is intended to familiarize the student with sampling techniques in a local stream. An ecologist will be on hand to answer questions the student may have about sampling, about water quality, about comparisons to make between variables, and anything else the student would like to ask. Activity: 1. Before the field trip, assign students to work in a group of three on one or two specific water chemistries. The following water chemistries will be evaluated: 1. nitrates 2. phosphates 3. temperature 4. pH 5. dissolved oxygen 6. ammonium 7. total solids 8. alkalinity 2. The above water chemistries will all be assessed using the Vernier CBL system, a TI-83 system, and separate probes. The only chemistry not assessed by this method is total solids which is found by using an evaporation method found in the new "Water Quality with CBL" book by Vernier. A water depth sampler is also available especially for use with the dissolved oxygen probe. 3. Each group is responsible for collecting data on their one or two assigned water chemistries. Give each group a copy of how to assess their water chemistry from the Vernier lab book on water quality. 4. There will be teachers and an ecologist on hand to answer sampling questions. 5. Take notes during the field trip. This will help you write your assigned essay. Homework Assignment: Write a five-paragraph essay about your field trip experience focusing on new information you have gathered. Format of essay: Introductory Paragraph - Make three points in this paragraph. Body - Paragraph One - Address the first point from intro paragraph. (at least three sentences) Paragraph Two - Address the second point from intro paragraph. (at least three sentences) Paragraph Three - Address the third point from intro paragraph. (at least three sentences) Conclusion - Make this at least three sentences long and a summary of the body information. Assessment: Essay is five paragraphs long 20 15 10 5 0 Each paragraph is a minimum of three sentences 20 15 10 5 0 Body of essay address introductory remarks 20 15 10 5 0 Conclusion summarizes body 20 15 10 5 0 Student demonstrates superior knowledge 20 15 10 5 0

Technology Requirements/Integration  (help)


All probes used in this activity were purchased from Vernier as was a lab book specifically on water quality. A water depth sampler is also available from this company.




Copyright 1997-2003
Career Connection to Teaching with Technology
USDOE Technology Innovation Challenge Grant
Marshall Ransom, Project Manager
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