Friday, October 7, 2016

Spring Creek Water Project

On Tuesday Sept. 27, 2016 Spring Creek Elementary 3rd and 4th graders went to LaPrele Park to study human impacts on water and the water cycle. 

Prior to their field trip, the class had studied the water cycle, aquifers, and the effects humans have on water.

Wyoming EPSCoR was able to help teachers bring place-based education where students could preform tests and observe water close to home. Science and Math Teaching Center graduate student, Claire Ratcliffe and EOD coordinator Emily Vercoe went out with the class to help with class discussions and testing. 

Before they started testing, the class learned what an aquifer is and how features like a spring form in an aquifer. An example used was the Casper Aquifer. The Casper Aquifer accounts of 60-100% of Laramie's drinking water. Students were able to make personal connections to the science of water by studying it in the context of their local environment. 

Students tested water quality in Huck Finn Pond, a spring fed fishing pond. They were also able to test along Spring Creek. This creek is also spring fed, but comes from a different source further east. These two different testing areas offered the opportunity to compare and contrast moving and still water. 

The class conducted a variety of tests including; pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and temperature. Based on the information collected, students could make predictions on the health of the stream and pond. 

While testing, students had time to observe macro-invertebrates. Macro-invertebrates commonly found in the water of Huck Finn Pond and Spring Creek are stoneflies, mayflies, or sowbugs. Most students went hunting for crawdads, by far the most coveted catch of the macro-invertebrates. 

There was also playful creativity incorporated into the field trip. The students played "Macro Mayhem", a version of the game sharks and minnows. Students were asked to mimic a stream, helping them to see how sensitive macro-invertebrates quickly die off if stream quality is damaged.

To conclude their day of scientific explorations the class walked back to school along Spring Creek Road, making observations along the way. 

The class can look forward to another day out in the field on Oct. 10 when they return to the water cycle, with a focus on watersheds. 

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