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Field investigation Using EcoSensors

Grantee: Appalachian State University – Boone, NC / 2015
Project Title: EcoSensors for Mountain Classrooms

Description: Given the remote, rural location of many schools in Western North Carolina and a lack of resources – science teachers are often limited in the quality of hands-on experiences with advanced scientific equipment that they can provide for their students. Even though the availability of laptops and teacher training in collaborative educational technology is growing, materials available for science lessons are usually traditional, non-digital instruments.

In order to protect our environment and learn to mitigate the damage humans have caused, it is important to first understand how the state of the natural environment is determined and monitored. This is where the idea for “EcoSensors for Mountain Classrooms” stemmed from. The project focused on providing students the tools to explore the scientific practices and technology used for observing and analyzing physical and chemical changes in an ecosystem. This is a critical step in determining the effectiveness of human interventions.

For example:  When restoring a riverbed to improve water quality, the EcoSensors for Mountain Classrooms program provides kits of Vernier LabQuest2 interfaces and digital science probes for teachers to borrow.  Equipped with the wireless interface and probes, middle and high school students were able to carry out investigations in the field, analyze real data on the spot, and then use the probes in the classroom to test models of possible solutions for environmental issues.  To see more,  Visit the EcoSensors for Mountain page.

Continuous impact / Community engagement: The project was featured in Appalachian State University’s STEM website http://stem.appstate.edu/news/ecosensors-mountain-classrooms and was mentioned in the Watauga Democrat newspaper http://tinyurl.com/gardeningatwcsschools 
as well as The Lettuce Learn School Garden Newsletter http://eepurl.com/b3Aw2P