1. Steve Kerlin
  2. http://www.stroudcenter.org/about/stevenkerlin.shtm
  3. Principal Investigator, Director of Education
  4. Teaching Environmental Sustainability - Model My Watershed
  5. https://itsi.portal.concord.org/, https://wikiwatershed.org/model/
  6. Stroud Water Research Center
  1. Nanette Marcum-Dietrich
  2. Principal Investigator, Professor
  3. Teaching Environmental Sustainability - Model My Watershed
  4. https://itsi.portal.concord.org/, https://wikiwatershed.org/model/
  5. Millersville University
  1. Carolyn Staudt
  2. Principal Investigator, Senior Scientist
  3. Teaching Environmental Sustainability - Model My Watershed
  4. https://itsi.portal.concord.org/, https://wikiwatershed.org/model/
  5. Concord Consortium
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: William Spitzer

    William Spitzer

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 09:36 a.m.

    Systems thinking is so important for young people to develop, especially as we are increasingly dealing with large and complex environmental problems.

    It seems like this project uses a range of technological tools, including hands on data collection, GIS, simulations, etc. I was wondering what have you learned about which elements, or combination of them, have been most effective in advancing system thinking among the students?

  • Icon for: Nanette Marcum-Dietrich

    Nanette Marcum-Dietrich

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2018 | 11:21 a.m.

     

    Hi William - Thank you for the comment. Our project does indeed incorporate many technologies and many activities. One of our research questions is 

    What aspects of the curriculum serve as critical incidents for students leading to a personal interest in watershed action?

     

    To better understand what prompts students to engage in watershed action, students were asked 3 open-ended questions on the post-test.

    Open-ended questions:

    1.     How can you protect your watershed? Explain.

    2.     What can you do at your house or in your neighborhood to improve the health of the watershed? Explain.

    3.     Have you done anything to improve your watershed that was NOT required by your teacher? Explain.

    On the post test, 464 of the 1547 students (30.27%) who responded presented a detailed plan to improve their local watershed or described a completed watershed action. The most frequently mentioned action was the installation of a rain garden (287 students)  and a rain barrel (80 students).

    “ I can protect my watershed by making a small rain garden in my neighborhood. I could do that by getting rock and plants and having the water that falls off of my roof drop into the rain garden.” Grade 7 - Pennsylvania

     “My neighborhood and i can build a rain garden at the end of our street and the street is slanted so all the run off water runs down there then into the river. If we put a rain garden there we can stop all the trash that the water picks up on the way down to the river and we would have a healthy watershed if everyone helps out. Then all the water can just flow into the river and it will be clean for the fish and it will also be healthy for the plants and fish in the water and right on the bank of the water.” Grade 7 - Colorado

     “I planted a rain garden in my backyard. This reduces the amount of runoff and filters the rainwater.” Grade 7 - Missouri

     “At my house or in my neighborhood to improve the health of the watershed we put rain barrels around our house to collect rain and reduce runoff, then we use that water to water our gardens. We also don't use fertilizer at all. But we could also install green roofs.” Grade 8 - Kansas

     “I convinced my dad to install a rain barrel and a garden after I told my family what could be done to help our watershed.” Grade 8 - Pennsylvania

     “I can use a rain barrel to collect the water and use it for things like gardening. I can also put rocks down on the ditch line to prevent run off.” Grade 9 - Virginia

     “To improve the health of the watershed at your house ,or in your neighborhood you need to build water barrels to collect the extra water that does not flow to a river ,pond ,or ocean.” Grade 11 - California

     “In my neighborhood, I advocated for rain gardens that drastically improved the integrity of the watershed.” Grade 11-  Kansas

     

    Of the 464 students who presented a detailed plan for improving their local watershed, 41 students were interviewed and 66 participated in focus groups via Zoom web conferencing software. The interviews and focus groups were recorded, transcribed and analyzed with NVIVO software. The interviews and focus groups followed a semi-structured interview protocol that adhered to the Critical Incident Technique methodology (Butterfield, Borgen, Amundson, & Maglio, 2005; Flanagan, 1954; Spencer-Oatey & Harsch, 2015) to assess students’ watershed engagement and action and to investigate which research-based curriculum features are the most significant transformational elements.  The Critical Incident Technique is most useful when researchers aim to understand the details and impact of different interactional events on individuals and the strategies used to handle them (Spencer-Oatey & Harsch, 2015). Research suggests that a critical incident (CI) is “any observable human activity that is sufficiently complete to permit inferences and predictions to be made about the person performing the act” (Flanagan, 1954, p. 327).


    Data analysis is not complete but preliminary findings highlight the importance of the school yard exploration activities including the watershed tour of the school yard and the testing of the school yard using the sensor tag. Students commented that these activities helped them to understand watersheds and to care about where the water flows in their watershed. Students often mentioned a desire to implement conservation practices in their local watershed and reported using the Model My Watershed App to model how conservation practices could improve the health of their watershed.  In summary, systems thinking in our project appears to involve three essential steps 1) awareness of the issue 2) investigation and exploration of the issue 3) and using tools to propose solutions. An essential element of the 3 steps is the local place-based aspect of the project where students' learning and exploration is grounded in their own local environment. .

     

     

     

     

     

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    William Spitzer
  • Icon for: Claire Pillsbury

    Claire Pillsbury

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 08:57 p.m.

    Thanks for the video sharing this excellent project that prompts the students to observe and think about the bigger systems of rain and water run off.  At one point in the video, Missy Hess states "Middle school students . . .want to contribute to the scientific community"   Is there a citizen science component to this project as well with students taking data for their local area?

  • Icon for: Carolyn Staudt

    Carolyn Staudt

    Curriculum/Professional Developer
    May 14, 2018 | 10:51 p.m.

    Students are encouraged to participate outside of their school. We do track that participation, but we as yet do not specifically identify the local citizen scientist groups for the 8 states participating. This could be a possible extension in the future.

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Claire Pillsbury
  • Icon for: Julianne Mueller-Northcott

    Julianne Mueller-Northcott

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 11:45 a.m.

    I love the model of awareness, exploration and then propose solutions while examining a local issue. It is so simple but really fundamental for learning. I am curious to know if students were inspired to go beyond just proposing solution but to also taking action in their schools or communities? 

  • Icon for: Carolyn Staudt

    Carolyn Staudt

    Curriculum/Professional Developer
    May 15, 2018 | 02:57 p.m.

    As Nanette Dietrich our TES:MMW researcher commented above, we do track the home to school component by tracking critical incidents for students that lead to their personal interest in watershed action. Almost one-third (30.6%) of the students answered post survey questions after completing the curriculum with a detailed plan. Nanette sites some great examples from their plans. Most of the plans included implementing conservation practices mentioned in the curriculum, such as planting rain gardens or green roofs.

  • Icon for: William Spitzer

    William Spitzer

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2018 | 08:00 a.m.

    Carolyn, can you say a bit more about what you mean by "critical incidents"? Not everyone may be familiar with this term. Thanks!

  • Icon for: Nanette Marcum-Dietrich

    Nanette Marcum-Dietrich

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2018 | 08:35 a.m.

    A critical incident (CI) is “any observable human activity that is sufficiently complete to permit inferences and predictions to be made about the person performing the act” (Flanagan, 1954, p. 327).

    For our research, we interviewed 107 students after completing the TES MMW curriculum  to assess students’ watershed engagement and action and to investigate which research-based curriculum features are the most significant transformational elements.  The interviews used a semi-structured Critical Incident Technique (CIT)  protocol to assess students’ engagement and action (Butterfield, Borgen, Amundson, & Maglio, 2005; Flanagan, 1954; Spencer-Oatey & Harsch, 2015). The Critical Incident Technique is most useful when researchers aim to understand the details and impact of different interactional events on individuals and the strategies used to handle them (Spencer-Oatey & Harsch, 2015).

     

  • Icon for: Chuck Verenna

    Chuck Verenna

    K-12 Teacher
    May 17, 2018 | 09:59 p.m.

    This is a very powerful tool for students to measure the effects of different factors affecting the watershed environments in many different locales.  I remember making a model for runoff in a plexiglass container to try to simulate the runoff based on certain soils when I was taking earth and space science in the early 80's - it did not show anything close to what is explained here!  The fact that the students can load data via their sensors using a mobile device for analysis in real time is amazing and powerful, and the fact that this model allows them the opportunity to make predictions as well as analyze variables without needing an actual, large scale system is fantastic.  

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Amanda Urey
  • Icon for: Carolyn Staudt

    Carolyn Staudt

    Curriculum/Professional Developer
    May 17, 2018 | 10:44 p.m.

    Having students predict and study how conservation practices impact the water column (evapotranspiration, runoff, and infiltration) in their school yard or neighborhood is extremely powerful. The students collect temperature, light and relative humidity readings in locations with and without conservation practices (e.g.,rain gardens, porous pavement, etc.) in their school yard and compare their readings at the different study sites. This allows the students to relate their real world data to how it impacts the evapotranspiration in the model's water column. 

  • Icon for: Cathlyn Stylinski

    Cathlyn Stylinski

    Researcher
    May 18, 2018 | 09:16 a.m.

    I've always been impressed by Model My Watershed. Related to an earlier question -- do student collaborate with scientists on any of their research project?

    Also -- what is the spatial resolution of the data used in MMW---is it fine enough to delineate small watersheds (e.g., schools drainage to a first-order-stream). 

    Great job!
    Cat

  • Icon for: Carolyn Staudt

    Carolyn Staudt

    Curriculum/Professional Developer
    May 18, 2018 | 09:43 a.m.

    Each of the activities are tied to a Water Science career and we have 13 videos of Stroud Water Research Center scientists linked to the curriculum activities in the Innovative Technology in Science Inquiry portal. The scientists range from interns to Ph.D. level scientists (http://guides.itsi.concord.org/teaching-environ...) in the videos while they are working in the field and the lab. 

  • Icon for: Katey Walton

    Katey Walton

    Graduate Student
    May 19, 2018 | 04:52 p.m.

     This looks like a very informative project for middle and high school students.  I would imagine the hands-on approach would have a bigger impact on the students compared to reading information about watersheds.  It is really powerful, how the students are able to see the factors that are impacting the watershed right in their own 'backyard.'   

  • Icon for: Allison Carberry

    Allison Carberry

    Graduate Student
    May 19, 2018 | 08:34 p.m.

    I really like how students learn through inquiry-based learning which conservation practices and landcover changes create the best environmentally friendly impact through the online scenarios they can create instead of having a teacher just tell them the practices and changes that would have the best result.  

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    Trevor Haney

    Graduate Student
    May 20, 2018 | 08:14 p.m.

    This is a very fascinating tool that looks easy to use while also being very informative. The hands-on data collection approach with the simulation seems like a great way to spark the interests of our 21st century learners. I would imagine that once the students learn and understand the complexities that go into environmental sustainability, you would be producing life long learners for the subject. The sensors seem like a great and fast way to have students complete assignments in a timely fashion. I am excited to introduce this into my civil and architecture class. Do you see the possibility of having this technology integrated with architectural software in the foreseeable future? I have students create 3D models of homes and businesses and we discuss the impact that buildings may have on the environment, and it would be amazing to be able to place the new building into the software and see the cause-and-effect. This is such an amazing technology.

  • Small default profile

    Erinne Lych

    K-12 Teacher
    May 20, 2018 | 08:30 p.m.

    What an amazing tool for students to utilize and analyze data for the areas that directly effect them. As a fifth grade teacher, my students and I explore the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling in order to protect our environment. We also study the effects of pollution on the environment and explore alternate energy sources. Model My Watershed would be a great way for students to visualize their local watershed and see the effects of run off pollution and allow them to plan alternate scenarios to improve the health and quality of their watershed.  The sensors allow students to have a hands-on experience with collecting and analyzing data in the real world. The technology aspect looks as though students will have access to a plethora of different conservation options and combinations of scenarios to visualize how storm water runoff and water quality affect their local watershed.

  • Icon for: Lamanda Davies

    Lamanda Davies

    K-12 Teacher
    May 20, 2018 | 09:03 p.m.

    Environmental awareness is very important and few people understand the effects that water runoffs have. Ecosystems are sensitive to certain things and changes that are not natural can harm plant and animal life. The tool looks easy to use and could be a stand-alone project or part of a larger assignment that could be combined with classroom and outdoor activities.

  • Icon for: Carolyn Staudt

    Carolyn Staudt

    Curriculum/Professional Developer
    May 20, 2018 | 10:21 p.m.

    Trevor,

    Do you see the possibility of having this technology integrated with architectural software in the foreseeable future? Model My Watershed has already been embedded into the Innovative Technology in Science Inquiry portal and even opens up to full page so students can zoom in and out and take Snapshots. See Part V of the Teaching Environmental Sustainability: Model My Watershed curriculum at https://itsi.portal.concord.org/itsi#high-schoo....

    Carolyn

  • Icon for: Nick C

    Nick C

    Graduate Student
    May 20, 2018 | 11:27 p.m.

    This project is great for middle and high school students.  I wish that I learned about watersheds this way.  I am sure that students are jumping at the chance to use so much technology and then come up with solutions for problems in their own backyards.  I really like the comments that Dr. Dietrich shared all the student comments on things they were doing at home to try to help.  Especially the one where the student convinced their dad to change something in their own backyard.  I really hope that one day my girls come running home to me so excited about their learning that they want to do something in their own community to help the environment.  

  • Small default profile

    Aubree Lockard

    Graduate Student
    May 21, 2018 | 12:32 p.m.

    This project made my mind spark because the science and math teacher could connect the lessons.  The math teacher could use the data and have students anaylze the graphs and data.  They could also find the area of the watersheds using geometry tools.  Great STEM project to cross over into the different subjects.  

  • Icon for: Domenic Scorzetti

    Domenic Scorzetti

    Graduate Student
    May 21, 2018 | 05:07 p.m.

    Dr. Dietrich,

    The MMW program described here is quite a dynamic system! I really like how intuitive the interfaces are, especially the runoff simulator which allowed that real-time adaptability depending on what surfaces were selected. I also liked the mapping tool which could really give students a highly localized perspective on watershed. Additionally, having the capability to run a "what-if" scenario where chosen conservation efforts were put in to place is a great feature and produces tangible results. This effort must have required a large amount of information gathering. What sources were you able to integrate to produce such a data-rich end product? Thanks!

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.