This Tuesday, sixth graders furthered their STEAM learning at the Matthews Beach portion of the Thornton Creek Watershed.
Science - Thornton Creek empties into Lake Washington, and students analyzed the overall water health using measurements similar to those that they used as fifth graders at Naturebridge. They tested for pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and macroinvertebrates (tiny baby insects that are excellent indicators of aquatic ecosystem health).
Technology - The students used science instruments ranging from the fancy (electronic meters for dissolved oxygen, pH, and temperature) to the “less-fancy” (ice cube trays, nets, and small paint brushes which work really well for collecting water critters).
Engineering - Back at school, they discussed various potential student-led projects concerning watershed restoration and protection. One student’s grand idea was to completely re-route the current creek bed to pick it clean of invasive New Zealand snails, a habitat-destroyer of native plants and animals.
Arts - Sitting quietly amongst the Douglas fir trees to work on field sketching and journal entries was also part of the 6th graders' day.
Math - They also collected data to be used back at school to in comparing the urban watershed to those on the Olympic Peninsula.
Group initiatives - Finally, because students were divided into Advisory groupings, they participated in some engaging team-building initiatives.
All in all, it was a beautiful sunny day mixed with STEAM learning, group bonding, fun, and exercise!