STEAM'd Salmon - Exploring Env. Sci. with 21st Century Tech!
My students need tools for building custom boats capable of monitoring water quality. Over the coming months they will use these tools to create unique vessels that can measure water temperature in a local river system!
Students arrive on our campus ready to learn, explore the out of doors, and take-on real-life environmental issues. Sitting on a 62-acre campus just outside Grand Rapids presents us with some tremendous opportunities for doing this, but our kids face some pretty harrowing difficulties too. Many of them are called on to support their families and face daily challenges that we consider tough to handle for any adult, let alone a student trying to take charge of his / her education. Day in and day out they inspire and motivate our staff and we truly believe our kids have what it takes to be the innovators and problem solvers we need in the years to come.
Last year students at WMAES started embarking on a school-wide mission to use the latest tools and technologies to push the boundaries of environmental science monitoring. With the launch of our school's STEAM (Science Tech Engineering Art and Math) program, we began challenging students through authentic inquiry-based experiences that spanned classrooms, disciplines and school districts. This year the program (and challenges) continue to expand!
This spring, our STEAM program will call on students to create and launch custom-designed watercraft into the Rogue River (Rockford, MI) in order to try their hand at designing the next generation of environmental research equipment.
Their efforts will be in concert with our school's annual salmon release (part of MI DNR's "Salmon in the Classroom" program) as they will be tasked with creating devices that could ultimately provide valuable data on habitat quality for fish in the Rogue River.
In order to make our efforts successful, my students need access to RC boats they can customize and tools they can use to fully modify and outfit their unique vessels. Specifically, the Dremmels and drills requested for this project will enable teams of students to cut, mold, shape, and fabricate custom components for their ROV's using recycled household materials from our labs and classrooms. Not only does this present an exciting and engaging opportunity to practice real-world problems, but the experience they gain from working with tools like these can spark an interest that lasts a lifetime - it's the type of opportunity that opens doors for my students and there's no telling what will come out on the other side!
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