The Challenge of Water Quality Project
Sister Schools Seek Solutions Together
Organization: Scofield Magnet Middle School and Shandong University Middle School
Consortium: Global Collaboratory
Water pollution is an enormous challenge, anyone would agree, but is it something middle schoolers could possibly help with? Most people may see this as too complex for anyone but lab-coated scientists and environmentalists, but students at Scofield Magnet Middle School in Stamford, Connecticut are now actively involved in real-world analysis of groundwater. Working with a variety of community organizations and utilizing HP technology, classes track data about quality of water, topography, drainage, flora and fauna, as well as the impact of urban development.
Interdisciplinary STEM work:
In addition to our continued work with hands on fieldwork with water testing, our team developed an interdisciplinary unit to investigate the history of the contaminated groundwater in our community.
Students read and responded to articles about the contamination and were exposed to various community experts on the issue.
Members of the community, including the city engineer, a scientist for the consulting firm that tested the area’s groundwater, a local historian, and community activists working to raise awareness of the contamination, spoke to our students about the problem and the various solutions that the city has undertaken to address the problem.
Students will use GIS technology to showcase their water testing data, the history of industry in Stamford as it relates to water and photos.
By the end of the year, we will have implemented the engineering component of our STEM unit. Students will create a topographical map of water flow in Stamford.
Last spring two teachers went to our sister school to engage in onsite water testing.
We hosted a group of students from our sister school in China, and this spring three teachers will visit our sister school to continue our collaboration on water quality.
We will also begin to use EPALS as a platform for collaboration with our sister school.
Increased Access to Technology:
This year 10 staff members received training in GIS from Lori Rubino-Hare of Northern Arizona University.
By the end of this school year we will have exposed all 650 students to this technology.
We plan to share our knowledge of GIS with our sister school immediately following the summit. Lori Rubino-Hare will accompany our team on this visit to build capacity in GIS with our sister school.
Findings & Achievements:
Surveys show an increase in student engagement and interest in STEM education
Students are more connected to the water issues that face their community
Increased exposure to scientists and engineers has helped students make larger connections between the problems in our community and the science involved with solving those problems
Exposure to GIS
Collaboration within Catalyst:
Soundwaters, North Stamford Concerned Citizens for the Environment, City of Stamford, Northern Arizona University (GIS), Stamford Historical Society, TRC Consulting, ePals
More opportunities to collaborate across the consortium at the pre-college level.
So that Catalyst members can collect and manage media of minors in a responsible and organized manner, we would suggest: Provide schools with photo and videography releases at the beginning of the school year; Provide information about end use of requested content when guidelines are released so that we can consider audience and purpose when developing our content.