What is a Regional Experiment?
- The 2019 ACS CERM leadership team, in collaboration with local ACS sections in the Central Region and (web provider), will host a yearlong investigation into the water systems in the region to study the impact that water chemistry has on the quality of water so vital to our lives.
- The experiment will be hosted during the 2018-2019 school year and it will target, primarily, middle school-aged students.
- Programming will be provided through teachers in any regional school system that elects to participate, and local ACS members will be available to mentor and support these efforts
- The experimental program is based on a designed and purposeful effort to study water in a school systems local area, and the combine that data with other regional participants to illustrate how these data are related
- Program content and test kits will be provided to participants, and all information related to the experiment will be hosted on (web provider) sites for interactive learning, as well as exploration of related content that can be of interest to students for further pursuit
How will the program support teachers?
- To attract the broader body of the teachers, the experiment should be aligned with the current curriculum in the schools. It should be close enough to their studies in science that can be easily and justifiably fit and carried out. Significant effort has gone in to this, the standards we have identified so far are outlined in our shared file. We have the former MPS STEM lead teacher on the team and the Science lead teacher for Auburn schools.
- Teachers will have several opportunities to engage with the program in the summer prior to implementing in their classroom, including participating in the CMU teacher experience at Beaver Island or through programs offered at the Chippewa Nature Center. The intent of these programs is to provide the teachers with an opportunity to work through the experiments, build confidence, and have questions address by the experts prior to teaching in the classroom
What is the student motivation?
- The key to motivating involvement is engaging teachers. The question of student motivation should actually be directed to teacher motivation. It is the educators that determine what will be covered in the classroom, if the content meets their needs, and if they feel comfortable with the content and equipped for success. Engaging, motivated teachers are the first step to a motivated classroom experience.
- Our committee’s motivation is to engage a large number of kids in a common experiment and drive discussion within classrooms on what makes the data from their committee similar or different from others. We want the kids (and their teachers with guidance from their local ACS) to hypothesize their reason. The foundation is environmental water quality, which touches everyone. Now, if I lived in Flint, I would want to know what water quality is different about my river vs. Lake Huron. If I lived in Toledo Ohio, I’d want to know what causes these nasty algae blooms. We plan to connect everyone with the interactive map that will now have key water quality markers from every location along with their ”motivation”. Key water markers are, nitrogen, phosphorous, turbidity, conductivity, etc. So even if my school in Toledo is doing algae and someone upstream is doing road-way salt run-off, I can see their phosphorous numbers and ‘use them’ to help me understand how their water is now my water. Bonus, is by the class writing up their reason, they now hit standards in writing, maybe in government, and potentially gets kids looking at “what are they doing in location X?”.
Why are we different than everything on the web?
- NSF, USGS, and a couple state based websites have a lot of pre-built classroom modules. The disconnect and why we are unique is instead of having a cool experiment and then finding standards, we are focusing on coverage of the standards with cool experiment(s) that will enable to adopt a little or to adopt a lot. The challenge (barrier) for the teacher is assembling the pieces to cover their mandated standards … that’s our intent.