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Sixth Grade Students to Participate in STEM Symposium

Release Date: 5/21/2009 8:52:35 AM

Fifteen sixth grade students from each middle school will participate in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Symposium on Friday, May 29, 2009, at Hashawha Nature Center (Outdoor School). Students will have the opportunity to participate in two of the three STEM-related environmental investigations listed below. Activities will take place from 9:45 to 11:15 a.m. and 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.
Fish Population – With the assistance of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), students will assess stream health through analysis of fish species and population. Students will perform two fish collections after learning netting techniques. They also will perform physical measurements of the stream in order to calculate abundance per square meter. Calculation of fish abundance will allow students to form predictions on stream health. Fish electro-shocking will be used to compare the accuracy of students’ data with the more detailed methods used by DNR.
Trip of the Drip - Students will use a GPS unit to follow a path water might follow. Several important (pre-determined) stops will highlight quality environmental practices as well as areas of environmental concern. Students will travel to locations where a geo-caching object will be placed. They will open a box which contains information on how the location relates to the watershed. Students will also collect an artifact from each location that will connect to the culminating discussion. A watershed model will be used to show how the locations relate to water quality within a watershed.
Water Quality of Bear Branch – Students will use digital data acquisition devices to chemically analyze the water in Bear Branch. They will collect data on temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and turbidity. Following the chemical analysis, students will also collect biological specimens (macro-invertebrates) to look for connections between the chemical and biological health of the stream. Students will use the data to create metrics to evaluate the quality of the stream. Connections between biological diversity and the quality of the water will be discussed. 

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