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Living Lab Pond Water Quality Project Launched

Science & the Environment students recently headed to the Living Lab to gather data about the water quality of the pond that is located in the four-acre certified wildlife habitat and outdoor classroom. This project will be an annual component of the class, along with other longitudinal studies already in place including a forestry study involving tree measuring and experiments on marigold growth.

The work started in the classroom, with four samples of water from different places – ocean, creek and tap – plus Glacier Cherry Gatorade being examined.

“Now they are having an opportunity to study a water source on site and do field work like real scientists,” science teacher Ming-Ching Wong said. “And the data they are collecting is meaningful for us as we monitor the Living Lab ecosystem.”

In the field students both tested and made qualitative observations of various zones in the pond – waterfall, stream, marsh and deep water – that have different characteristics.

They tested samples collected from each of these zones for surface water temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration, water flow rate, pH, nitrate concentration and water clarity.

In subsequent class sessions, the students will analyze and compare the data collected from each of the four pond zones.

Students said great to have an opportunity to do field research … right on their own campus.

“It’s real world experience,” DJ Avent ’21 said.

“It’s a different experience than being in the classroom because you are out here with nature and you not only have the resources right in front of you but you are also getting them yourself, as opposed to going into a classroom and having them there already, “Malia Reed ’21 said.

“I don’t know of many other high schools that have a Living Lab. I think we are really fortunate and it’s really cool,” Ciara Murphy ’21 said.

Science & the Environment is a year-long laboratory course is required for all incoming freshman students and focuses on building a foundation of strong science practices while providing a rich, meaningful introduction to the environment and the issues associated with stewarding the earth. Students are introduced to basic scientific methods and have the opportunity to become familiar with common laboratory tools, data collection methods, educational technology, and analysis. This course integrates skills and knowledge in biology, chemistry, earth science, environmental science and physics, preparing students for success in their future science classes.

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