A *New* Biology Adventure for Your Kansas Students: PBL – Water Quantity and Water Quality
The NSF Kansas EPSCoR project titled, Microbiomes of Aquatic, Plant, and Soil Systems across Kansas (MAPS), a collaboration of researchers from KU, K-State, WSU, Fort Hays State, and Haskell Indian Nations University, hosted 12 Kansas biology teachers in a 2018 Summer Institute from June 4-8, 2018. Broken into three teams — Aquatics, Terrestrial, and ArcGIS, our goal was to work with researchers to investigate how the microbiomes of Kansas are critical to understanding several key issues for our state, including agricultural sustainability, water quality, greenhouse gases, plant productivity, and soil fertility. In addition to using ArcGIS to map native and restoration prairie species distribution under the direction of Drs. Helen Alexander, Peggy Schultz, and Jim Bever, we all did some aquatics field work led by the Deputy Director of the Kansas Biological Survey, Dr. Jerry deNoyelles, and Assistant Research Professor, Dr. Ted Harris, who specializes in Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). We learned how to use lake surveying equipment to test water quality parameters and sampled macroinverts in thermally-stratified Cross Reservoir. We also seined Mud Creek, where Drew Ising apparently stumbled into a parallel universe when I botched this pano:
The end result was this *NEW* PBL on Water Quantity and Quality, which I hope benefits your Biology students as much as I know it will benefit mine:
About Me and my PBL Life
Growing up without the Internet (and in Louisiana) was great. Every spring, my dad would issue my assignment by announcing to where in the U.S. we would be driving over the summer, and I would spend months in the public library, scouring the Dewey Decimals to find all the science and the history of the areas we’d be visiting. On the trip, I would sit behind him in the Oldsmobile so that I could give him a full report of all that I had found. Growing up a farmer’s kid, he never had much time for school, so an education is what my dad wanted most — for himself and for me and my brother and sister. To say that those experiences built me as a science teacher and as a person is an understatement. I figured out more about the world and about myself through those dozen or so years traveling through the lower 48 than most people do in a lifetime.
When I became a teacher 12 years ago, I imagined how I might replicate that kind of exploration for my student and started creating adventures in science, what we today label “Project-Based Learning (PBL)”. This is the usual student response:
I have had the privilege to share some of my PBLs with my fellow science teachers through the years, facilitating Project-Based Learning for USD 259 – Wichita Public Schools for a few years at district science in-services while teaching (7 preps!) at Northeast Magnet High School in Wichita and now by sharing a PBL course for 3 graduate credits with Maize – USD 266, where I now teach, through ONEMa1ze / Baker University’s Professional Learning Series. At the end of the summer, I will have the privilege of again ‘Learning by Doing’ with NGSX in KSDE’s Master Science-Teacher-in-Training program.
Online: http://www.ourscienceclass.net **Yes, I do know that I need to change the year on my website, but I have been doing all this other (s)cool stuff instead.**
Facebook: Amy Lynn Hammett