Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mathematics and Seasonal Water Monitoring

Selah Junior High math students, under the guidance of Tiffany and their teacher, Mrs. Quincy, are going to put their math skills to use analyzing data collected during a fieldtrip this fall. This hands-on collection of "numbers" allows students to understand how mathematics is applied in watershed research, similar to what Tiffany studies. Students collected data for several water quality parameters: temperature, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen.

At this unique site, students were able to collect water samples from groundwater, stormwater, and ditch water. As an added bonus, students also searched for aquatic macroinvertebrates, tallying them for an assessment of water quality and sketched plants and insects they found at their field site. After the fieldtrip, students spent time organizing, analyzing, and interpreting data.

We headed out for the fall data collection trip on a hot, sunny September day. Students walked to the nearby fieldsite, where smaller groups rotated through the 4 stations.

Tiffany instructed students on groundwater and helped them safely collect their water samples for field testing.

2009-2010 WATERS fellow, Erin Dilworth, helped out with the groundwater station.

Jamie facilitated the Selah ditch station and also helped students explore the local flora.

Dale and Melissa helped students find and sort aquatic macroinvertebrates.

Students will repeat this fieldtrip throughout the academic year, collecting slightly different data for continued data analysis in class and interpreting any interesting seasonal comparisons.

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