Investigating the Water Quality of the Root River in Lanesboro, MN
This field investigation will be in collaboration with Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro, MN link to Eagle Bluff. It will include chemical, biological, and physical tests. The chemical tests will include kits where students need to read the directions and then perform the tests. The tests to be performed are dissolved oxygen, pH, and nitrate levels. The biological tests will be observational. The students will look for macro-invertebrates. The physical tests will be inquiry based. The physical tests include temperature, turbidity, velocity, depth, width, & discharge. A drawing of the stream's profile will also be required. The students will need to design a method to find velocity and discharge of the stream with a few simple tools and interpretation of the data previously collected. The students will collect data at the site and then complete a lab report back in the classroom. A sample of the data sheet and lab report will be provided. This stream section is also monitored by the Department of Agriculture. The students will analyze the data they have collected along with the Department of Agriculture's data to develop ideas on how to keep or make the stream a healthier ecosystem.
1) This activity is designed to help students understand the importance of water quality.
2) This activity is designed for students to learn how to use and perform some simple water quality tests.
3) This activity is designed for students to develop ideas on maintaining or improving water quality.
4) The activity is designed for students to perform an inquiry based field investigation.
1) The quality of water is affected by many variables.
2) The results of the physical, chemical, and biological tests can determine the stream's quality of health.
3) Water quality can be easily impacted, both negatively and positively, because of people's actions.
Velocity, discharge, stream profile, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, water quality, and macro-invertebrates.
Context for Use
Resource Type: Activities:Field Activity
Special Interest: Field-Based Teaching and Learning
Grade Level: High School (9-12)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Enhancing your Teaching:Teaching in the Field, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Environmental Science, Teach the Earth:Teaching Topics:Water
Description and Teaching Materials
The data will be collected and recorded in a water quality field investigation journal (see attachments). Back in the Eagle Bluff classroom the students will then analyze the results from all three tests. Back at school, conclusions will be made and discussed about velocity and discharge at the three locations and also about the stream profile. Conclusions will be drawn. The students will also have data from the Department of Agriculture that give their results from the monitored section of that stream. The students will discuss their results and the problems that they have encountered. The Water Quality Index will be discussed and we will also take a look at the health of the river sampled. We also want to discuss the importance of a healthy river and the effects on that ecosystem. A hypothesis stating water quality will be determined. The students will conclude by reflecting their thoughts as well as answering some directed questions. One question would be when developing your experiment what would you do differently next time? Another might be, how can you protect or improve the water quality? Or what other tests could be preformed to enhance our investigation and the results? Lastly, what questions about water quality do you have? We will end by making our own personal challenge to protect our stream ecosystem.
Teaching Notes and Tips
1.A.3c = Is the experimental data logical with what is known?
1.B.4d = Identifying experimental errors.