Model My Watershed: Developing a Cyberlearning Application and Curricula to Enhance Interest in STEM Careers
Model My Watershed is a three-year project to develop, test and disseminate a watershed-modeling tool set for secondary students funded by the National Science Foundation.
Model My Watershed is designed to build on GoogleEarth and provide a dynamic interface where students can import as well as add data, modify both environmental conditions and underlying algorithms, work in a collaborative online learning environment, and be exposed to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers. The design is based on the belief that students should have an authentic, exciting, intuitive and interactive tool set that allows them to investigate their own neighborhoods. The investigations challenge students to make real world decisions based on scientific knowledge and models.
The project uses the complexity of environmental science to engage and excite students about the diverse STEM careers that are necessary to study and address environmental issues. Using existing scientific data in an authentic, hydrologic modeling toolset, students learn to predict how environmental changes to the ecosystem affect the hydrologic cycle in their local watersheds. In addition to being able to modify the underlying environmental conditions and model algorithms, the students can modify their watershed by drawing new surfaces or structures on the landscape using tools such as Google SketchUp. A collaborative web-based communication platform is used to network teams of students and schools to pose questions or challenges and communicate their findings. The project will directly impact 25 teachers and 1000 students in the Philadelphia area with plans for national dissemination.
Integrating the Carbon and Water Cycles within an Ecosystem Esthetic Approach to Landscapes
Funded by: National Science Foundation
This project is based on research conducted by scientists at the Center that shows the connections among landscape practices, stormwater runoff and mobilization and mineralization of carbon. The project will build upon sound landscape practices used at Longwood Gardens to teach visitors that replacing lawns and paved surfaces with land cover that allows for rainwater infiltration not only reduces the harmful effects of increased stormwater runoff and the movement of carbon, it can also be beautiful. This is a two-year project that will be completed in the fall of 2011.
The Science of Water through the World of Art
Funded by: Point Lookout Farmlife Foundation and Water Preserve Foundation. This program at Point Lookout Preserve exposes students and teachers to new ways of thinking about landscapes and stream ecosystems through the creative process of art and science.
Programs combine watershed science, artistic expression, canoeing, and introductions to the art of the Brandywine Valley with a special focus on the art, country farm and forest of the Wyeth family. The Science of Water Through the World of Art has expanded in scope to include programs that have been offered across the United States. View photo gallery.
Upland Country Day School Curriculum Development
Funded by: The Applestone Foundation
Center educators worked with Upland Country Day School in 2009 to develop quantitative watershed activities and curricula for their 5th grade science curriculum. Their 7th grade class also came to the Center for a leaf pack education program and we also helped judge their all-school science fair.
Consortium for Scientific Assistance to Watersheds (C-SAW)
A team of specialists who provide eligible watershed groups with program management and scientific technical assistance.
Funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Stroud Water Research Center has been an active partner of this consortium since 2004.
Water Quality and Stream Health in Eastern Pennsylvania
Funded by: NASA
Center educators, along with the Central Bucks School District, the Heritage Conservancy and the Peace Valley Nature Centers, provided programming in 2008 and 2009 to show the impact of almost four decades of suburban expansion, rural development, dam construction and environmental regulations in the region’s freshwater sources.
Leaf Pack Network®
A network of teachers and students investigating their local stream ecosystems.
The Leaf Pack Experiment involves creating an artificial leaf pack (dry leaves in a mesh bag), placing it in the stream for three to four weeks, examining the packs in the classroom and discovering the different types of insects that colonized the leaves. These insects are indicators of stream health. After conducting their own leaf pack experiment, these schools share their data through the Leaf Pack Network®. Through the Leaf Pack Experiment, students conduct their own experiments, investigate food webs, learn classification skills and use technology to share their data with a network of schools across the region. The Leaf Pack Experiment kit was developed by the Stroud Water Research Center and the LaMotte Company. Visit the Leaf Pack Network website.
Watershed Citizenship Learning Community
A collaboration with Cabrini College to encourage environmental stewardship in their students.
In collaboration with Cabrini College, we are developing courses that use the watershed as the means to instill an interest in the science associated with the preservation and conservation of freshwater resources and encourage environmental stewardship in non-major/pre-major undergraduate students. In so doing, we will empower these students with the tools, knowledge and motivation to become lifelong citizen scientists. To accomplish this, we will develop tandem courses (Watershed Ecology and Watershed Citizenship) that integrate service learning in the local watershed.
See also: Past Projects