|5 to 12
|Flexible (can be done in a couple of weeks or over the course of the year)
Description:This sample lesson is one example of how you can implement the practice of Engaging Families and Communities. In this project, afterschool instructors and students work with community members and parents to understand the local environment and restore a creek.
- Understand the local environment and issues that affect it
- Practice scientific inquiry through questioning, hypothesizing, observing and recording data, and analyzing and communicating results
- Use scientific tools to measure
- Keep journals or records of scientific investigations
- Work collaboratively to solve a problem
- Safety goggles or spectacles
- Collection bags
- Water-testing kits or computer/PDA probes (available at science-supply stores)
- Digital camera
- PDA or laptop with spreadsheet software
- Identify volunteer and local community personnel (environmental scientists, chemists, biologists, etc.) from the Environmental Protection Agency, city parks department, or the local water quality board to help plan and conduct the project.
- Plan project timeline and communicate with parents.
- Collect necessary materials.
- Adults must supervise all data collection and clean-up. Choose the area wisely, looking for the safest environment for students.
- Students must wear gloves for clean-up and use goggles when any water-testing chemicals are used.
- Do not collect data when a storm is forecast; observe the sky for rain showers and thunderstorms. Avoid streams in high water.
- Have a first-aid kit for all outings, sturdy shoes, and proper clothing, including protection from the sun.
What to Do:
- Engage students by inviting a guest speaker to discuss and share pictures of local streams, or take students to a nearby stream to see the condition of the area. Consider taking students to a local meeting for creek restoration if one is available in your area. Discuss and plan your project with students and parents.
- Explore creeks. Have students research water resources in their area and creek restoration projects. Lead students in planning the restoration project. Have students clean a section of the creek/stream and document (journal and digital camera) the activities. Test water for pH, nitrates, dissolved oxygen, or other physical parameters. Collect, organize, and display data and any changes over time.
- Explain findings. Have students analyze and explain what they learned. This may take the form of large charts, drawings, digital pictures, or computer-generated spreadsheets and charts. Allow time for questions and answers, and probe students to explain what they learned as well as any questions they may have.
- Extend learning if time allows.
- Plan an art project about creek restoration.
- Plan student presentations before local environmental organizations or city parks department.
- Encourage students to enter projects in a science fair.
- Invite local or state environmental agencies to talk to students about careers in environmental sciences.
- Ask students to do follow-up research on local environmental issues.
- Expand the study with older students to include tracing energy flows in the creek ecosystem and researching and restoring native plants to the stream banks.
Evaluate (Outcomes to look for):
- Student participation and engagement
- An understanding of creeks in the local environment
- Questions and answers that reflect an ability to practice scientific inquiry (questioning, hypothesizing, observing and collecting data, and communicating results)
- Written answers or illustrations that reflect an understanding of environmental issues, how to measure chemicals in water, and how to display data
Learn More:Learn more about the 5Es.