Thursday, June 20, 2013

CASE AFNR Day 4: Earth, Wind, & Fire! (And Water!)

Ok, maybe not so much on the Wind & Fire, but today's CASE AFNR curriculum focused on several environmental issues dealing with water and soil conservation.  Today was the perfect day for hands-on learning at its finest!

This activity aimed to replicate the effects of
rainfall on soil.  After 3 "rainstorms, we
evaluated our streambed for damage.
In the morning session, I explored the world of water and soil with my fearless lab partners Mackenzie and Greg while rotating through 7 lab experiment stations.  We explored topics of porosity, erosion, and soil classification all while learning from each other.  We walked away from many labs with dirty hands but a sense of accomplishment knowing that these lab experiences will increase the rigor and relevance of our classroom instruction.

Water, water, everywhere...but not a drop to drink.  The afternoon session was all about water and exploring the numerous tests that can be performed on a sample of water.  We tested out Labquest equipment that could measure the temperature, pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and total dissolved solids of any liquid sample.  With some patience and a bit of instruction interpretation, we maneuvered through the exercises learning more about a sample of water than we thought was possible!

We also investigated
the effects of topography on
runoff utilizing this plastic
Taking a step back and reflecting upon the rigor of this lab exercise, I quickly realized that I hadn't encountered much of this equipment until upper-level college courses (or even at all during my college education).  How awesome will it be that Freshmen students in high school will be exposed to this highly-technical equipment before they even graduate?  The power of this science-based agriculture curriculum will set up my students for success as they enter post-secondary education or the workforce.

The day concluded with the participants working through the task of creating their own lab procedure (an excellent inquiry-based activity that stretches students to synthesize a procedure from their past lab experiences and evaluate the validity of their experimental design).  Although a tough challenge to end the day, all lab groups worked efficiently to complete the inquiry-based activity!

Stay tuned for Friday's adventures before a well-deserved weekend break!


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