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  • Eco-Jars to Ecosystems: Biology Students Connect Classroom Learning to Fieldwork

    Posted by Stevens Point Area Public School District on 11/2/2023

    In an engaging blend of academic learning and hands-on experience, macro biology students from Stevens Point Area Senior High (SPASH) ventured out of the traditional classroom setting and into the heart of the Boston School Forest. This immersive trip was not just a walk in the woods; it was a journey into the microscopic and macroscopic worlds that thrive in pond ecosystems.


    Before embarking on their adventure, students have been preparing by simulating pond ecosystems in their classroom through the creation of Eco-Jars. These mini-ecosystems have been nurtured and observed over several weeks, offering a baseline for understanding complex biological interactions.


    Once at the Boston School Forest, students were set to perform a series of scientific tests on the pond, evaluating key indicators of aquatic health such as pH, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen. 


    Armed with probes and test kits, the young biologists began their investigation. With careful precision, they measured temperature and light compensation levels, along with pH, temperature and nitrate levels.. Every reading was recorded, every observation noted.

    Back on dry land, the students used microscopes to see the diversity in a sample of pond water. Comparing these microorganisms to those found in their classroom Eco-Jars brought the lesson full circle. They marveled at the similarities and differences, sparking discussions on ecological balance and biodiversity.


    With their field data and observations in hand, students set out to create comprehensive Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning (CER) statements, delving into the complex task of correlating their findings with their Eco-Jars, discerning the degrees to which their simulations matched the natural pond environment.


    The hands-on experience cemented their understanding of ecological principles, as they considered the intricate web of life they had been part of that day.  As they continue to compare and analyze their findings, our students are not just learning about science; they are learning to think like scientists. 


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