Aquatic Adventures: Learning about Rivers

Mattie Kelly Summer Institute Teacher Workshops


Teacher Workshop photoTuesday, July 8, 2008,
Physical Science Focus

Wednesday, July 9, 2008,
Biological Science Focus

The physical science themed day focused on how water moves in rivers, how rivers transport sediment, etc.  Eight teachers from Okaloosa and Walton Counties attended the physical science focused workshop.  The day started off with a field trip to Turkey Creek to learn some basic river facts and terminology (discharge, meanders, sediment transport, etc.). Once the teachers became acquainted with the river, they learned how to measure river discharge.  Back in the classroom, teachers learned how to build stream tables (model streams) and then broke into small groups to use stream tables previously constructed.  Other workshop events included a lecture on river basics and an interactive activity to help students better understand the scientific method.

teacher workshop photoThe biological science themed day focused on rivers as habitat, the organisms that live in rivers, and how rivers affect coastal aquatic biology. Twelve teachers from Okaloosa and Walton Counties attended the biological science themed workshop.  Teachers went on another field trip to Turkey Creek, this time to learn how to use macroinvertebrate diversity to assess river health.  The teachers enthusiastically collected, sorted, and identified "critters".   Back in the classroom, we covered other topics including nutrient runoff from the land, the role of nutrients in aquatic habitats, harmful algal blooms, anoxic zones, and the Gulf of Mexico "Dead Zone".   Teachers also participated in a short interactive exercise to demonstrate the concept of nutrient limitation of phytoplankton and in an interactive presentation to reinforce the scientific method using a non-science example.  The day ended with lively discussions about how to incorporate the curriculum presented during the two days into their classrooms.

teacher workshop photoSome quotes from participants of the teacher workshops:

“Absolutely terrific!"

"The scientific method quotations activity will be very useful for any science teacher."

"[The speaker was] informative, animated and excited about the topics."

"I can't think of anything to improve. It was fantastic."

"I really liked today's lesson delivery -- preview of sampling techniques (in video), plus handouts, plus actual sampling (hands on)."