Friday, October 14, 2011

Selah Intermediate School Field Trip to Adobe-Wenas Pond

About 50 sixth grade science students from Selah Intermediate School travelled by bus to Adobe-Wenas Pond, located behind their teacher's home in Selah, WA. After a short walk to the pond, students began their five observation and investigation stations.

One station was searching for amphibians in the pond. WATERS fellow, Sara Healas, and biology professor, Dr. Steve Wagner, came to help students learn about and find frogs. Two frogs were found, and one salamander. Many students ended up very wet, but still had a fun time wearing waders and boots in the water!

Another station taught students how to find snails, then describe and measure them. The teacher, Mrs. Ranger, and WATERS fellow Jonathan Hegna assisted with this process. Students used large nets to catch snails, then observed them up close before releasing them back into the pond.

A third station was designed to teach students the basic method of taking field notes. After a brief introduction to this process, students dispersed into a field and observed sights, sounds, temperature, smells, and other parts of their surroundings and documented them in their science notebooks. WATERS School Liaison, Leah Irwin, facilitated the field notes process.

Students rotated to their fourth station, which was to catch invertebrates, then identify and describe them. Some of the things found were woolly caterpillars, a very unusual-looking spider, grasshoppers, and some aquatic insects as well. WATERS fellows Kelsey Johnson and Jonathan Hegna assisted at this station.

The fifth and final station was doing water quality testing. Students practiced measuring nitrate, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and conductivity levels in the pond water. Geology professor, Dr. Carey Gazis, and WATERS fellow, Renee Holt, led this station.

When students had completed all requirements at all stations and cleaned up their areas, they all retreated back to their teacher's property for lunch on the lawn. The weather had become sunny and warm so anyone who was wet could begin to dry out!

Before loading the bus to return to school at the end of the field trip, students did a scavenger hunt to look for certain types of vegetation in the area.

Overall, a fun time was had by all--even the teacher, Mrs. Ranger, agreed with that!

Students will debrief and analyze some of their pond data in the days after the field trip. Thank you to Mrs. Ranger and WATERS fellow, Renee Holt, for organizing this amazing trip for students, and to all WATERS personnel who helped out!