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Ms. Ricketts from Southport NC is requesting Technology through DonorsChoose, the #1 classroom funding site for teachers.

Phytoplankton Monitoring/Water Quality

The cost of 3 Wolfe microscopes, 2 water quality test kits, and 2 thermometers from Carolina Biological Supply Company is $1067, including shipping and <a target="new" href="" onclick="g_openWindow('', 300, 800, 'fulfillwindow');return false;">fulfillment</a>.

  • $1,067 goal

Hooray! This project is fully funded

Hooray! This project is fully funded

Hello- I teach four sections of Earth/Environmental Science at a high school in Southport, NC. My students are almost all freshmen on an "A/B day" block schedule, so I will have these students for the rest of the year. My students are all great kids. I have 2 sections that are "honors", one "AP-prep," and one "regular" class. Every class benefits from learning about the Earth and their environment to the fullest degree possible. I believe that hands-on experiences are often the best way for most students to learn Earth/Environmental Science (E/E) concepts, skills, and knowledge. One topic in E/E that is of special interest to us is water quality because we live near the beach, Intercoastal Waterway, and Boiling Springs Lake. This past month, I attended a workshop on phytoplankton monitoring by the Southeast Phytoplankton Monitoring Network ( They are a research group whose data on phytoplankton concentrations comes from volunteer organizations such as high school classes. They provide a net and bottle to catch phytoplankton if the class will count them and report the count online. They take special interest in algal blooms. I would like to participate in this program with my classes. Students would monitor a site in Southport on the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) for changes in phytoplankton concentrations and species. This is important for health reasons (HABs) and also to know what is happening at the lowest level of the estuarine ecosystem because it affects all other levels. Although I could go collect the water samples myself and bring them in for classes to analyze, I would like to take the classes to the site several times throughout the year so that they can see where we are collecting. Also, I would like to monitor the water quality of the site so that students can link the phytoplankton and water quality. Since they live here and eat local seafood, the water quality is important to them. This project would build students' research skills, allowing them to really be researchers. Also, they will gain skills in using the equipment. That is where I need your help - we do not have the equipment for students to use. I do not have microscopes for my classroom so that students can count the number of phytoplankton species. I need at least a few, preferably more. Other teachers have some, but they are too tied up between the other science classes for the high use we would need to get out of them. We will need water quality testing kits so that we can test the water for parameters such as dissolved oxygen, nitrogen, fecal coliform, etc. I would prefer the simplest and easiest to use tests possible so that students in all of my classes can do this confidently. Finally, we are limited on our budget for field trips, so would like trips to the collection site (~15 minutes into town). Since I have 4 classes and they should go at least twice to see changes in the area, that would be 8 trips. We could then monitor erosion, commercial development, and other visible signs in the area. If my classes could participate in this project, it would make the relevance of Earth/Environmental Science more accessible to them. Water quality is also a topic that links to every other topic in E/E (weather, geography, pollution, global warming, ecosystems, etc), so it would add to their understanding of these subjects. Although I realize my request is substantial, it will be well worth it for the donor and students. I will have my classes present their findings in a visual and audio format at the end of the year to whomever will listen (parents, teachers, etc.) The experience, knowledge, and confidence students will gain from this venture will last them a lifetime. Thank you for considering my request - Jessica Ricketts

Ms. Ricketts
Grades 9-12
More than half of students from low‑income households

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5 donors5 donors have given to this project.

This project will reach 160 students.

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Where Your Donation Goes

Materials Cost Quantity Total
MICROSCOPE,COMP,WOLFE(R),CBA3L • Carolina Biological Supply Company $195.00 3 $585.00
WATER QUALITY MONITORING SET • Carolina Biological Supply Company $61.90 2 $123.80
THERMOMETER, IMMERSION PLASTIC • Carolina Biological Supply Company $2.95 2 $5.90

Materials cost


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Fulfillment labor & materials

Total project cost


Suggested donation to help DonorsChoose reach more classrooms


Total project goal


How we calculate what's needed

Total project goal


5 Donors


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Project Activity

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