Getting Excited About Science Through Stream Ecology

Getting Excited About Science Through Stream Ecology

by Emily Kerr

Thursday, May 18, 2017

STEM docent program

Is our stream healthy? That’s the question that participants in the Stream Safari training at the STEM Discovery Lab investigated through various indoor activities and fieldwork experiences earlier this month.

Stream Safari is an environmental science program focused on stream ecology for youth in grades K-8. Participants took the two-day training either as Professional Development or to join the STEM Docent program. The workshop, taught by UNH Cooperative Extension’s Science Literacy team specialists,  provided ways to excite and engage youth in hands-on inquiry-based lessons on stream ecology.

It also provided opportunities to conduct biological, physical and chemical stream assessments at a local stream. Equipped with rubber boots, nets and testing materials, participants collected and identified macroinvertebrates, conducted tests on water quality, and gathered other data to analyze. This was the highlight for many.

“It was so important to actually experience what the students will be experiencing at the stream,” said an educator who plans to use the Stream Safari curriculum as part of her fourth grade science program.

“Doing the hands-on part at the stream and then reviewing the data made it come together better,” said another participant taking the training to become a STEM Docent.

Others said they came away reenergized, with many new ideas and activities. After analyzing the data to determine stream health, everyone said they wanted to go back and gather additional data.

“That’s what it’s all about,” said instructor Sarah Grosvenor. “Getting kids excited to find out more.”

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