Monday, May 16, 2011

Cle Elum BioBlitz 2011

The 2nd Annual Cle Elum BioBlitz was a great success! Although we were all a bit concerned that the snow might still be falling on BioBlitz day, the weather relented and we actually enjoyed some sunshine and bare soil!
This year, fellow Amber took the lead as the organizer of the event and did a great job collecting the supplies and providing detailed instruction and training to both students and volunteers.
The BioBlitz gives students at the middle school a chance to head outdoors to designated plots and collect a variety of data including soil, flora and fauna, as well as collect detailed observational data.
Expert scientists were available to help students identify plants and other interesting features of their plots. Watershed club students were also on hand and highly trained to help organize each plot and ensure correct measurements.
A special thanks to all the volunteers and teachers who helped make this day possible. And for all the great scientists who collected another year of plot data!

Geography Day Fieldtrip...One More Time!

Jamie and Mrs. Zentner took their second semester classes of 6th grade science students to CWU for a Geography Day Fieldtrip!
Thanks to some brave and stylish chaperons, students were able to walk from Morgan Middle School to the CWU campus in a timely and safe manner.

Once again, students participated in three stations during the afternoon:

GPS scavanger hunt, including a tour of the CWU greenhouse.

Introduction to GIS.

Stereoscopes and airphotos, lead by WATERS mentor Dr. Lipton.

Once again, students were excited to visit CWU and use some of the tools geographers and scientists use! Another successful fieldtrip!

Glaciers in Thorp!

Tabitha and Mechelle, the dynamic duo at Thorp School, engaged students in an exciting lesson about glacier movement. Tabitha presented a brief introductory powerpoint reviewing some glacier basics and then every got to play with Flubber aka the glaciers!!

Students were able to compare how glaciers might move as temperature, slope, and surface change. Tabitha's mentor, Dr. Ely, was there to provide further insight and guidance.
The lesson was a big hit! Students were able to explore these concepts by constructing their own experiments. And most of all, they left the class asking for more time to complete their "glacier trials"!

WATERS Attends Annual GK-12 Conference

In March, WATERS fellows, teachers and PI's had the opportunity to attend the Annual NSF GK-12 Conference in Washington D.C. This meeting gives us the opportunity to share our program's accomplishments, as well as network with other GK-12 grant recipients. WATERS fellows presented a poster at the poster session and were able to attend activities, mixers, and discussions of GK-12 science integration and resources.

In addition, two WATERS fellows, Tabitha and Amber, were selected to present their thesis research and classroom integration at NSF headquarters.

And after a couple days of conference, it's good to get out and see the capital!

Although the Reflecting Pool wasn't reflecting much, Dale did manage to find a prehistoric mosquito, making the trip an overall success!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Digging Up Some Snow Science

A self-elected crew of Ellensburg High School 9th graders participated in the annual snow fieldtrip to Snoqualmie Pass in March this year.

They dug snow pits under the guidance and supervision of WATERS fellow, Matt, EHS teacher, Roger, and John Stimberis with the WSDOT.

Using these snow pits, students were able to measure the snow density, layer depths, and other parameters which detail the snowfall history of the season.

We had wonderful weather and student worked hard to dig all the way to the ground!

After carefully recording all their data and measurements they filled in the snow pits and headed for home. Matt helped students analyze and interpret the snow data from this year and they presented their findings at CWU SOURCE.

This is the fourth year that EHS has taken students on this fieldtrip and we hope to see quality snow data collection for many years to come!

Monday, May 9, 2011

WATERS Winter Symposium

Yakima WATERS teams meet once each quarter to share what they have accomplished, refocus their goals, and share ideas and knowledge.

Each of the WATERS fellows gives a brief presentation highlighting the lessons, activities and fieldtrips their team has incorporated into the classes. We also break out into teacher, mentor, and fellow groups to evaluate and discuss WATERS participation.

This winter we met at the CWU campus and had the additional opportunity to witness some explosive and colorful chemistry demonstrations with Dr. Rivera and Sara.