Boulder Creek Studyby: Deirdre Bingaman and Karla Bradley Eitel

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Boulder Creek runs literally in the backyard of Donnelly Elementary School and happens to be on the EPA list of impaired water bodies. Therefore, a unique opportunity for problem solving opened the door to an exciting chance for students to become scientists, while also becoming active in their community. With the help of the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), a teacher from Donnelly Elementary School and a faculty member at the University of Idaho’s McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS)—fifth-grade students tackled this local environmental problem through an inquiry-based project.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (3)
  • on Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:43 AM

I enjoyed that it was a student lead inquiry that had students engaged and making decisions. They got to decide what was important to include in their notebooks and were able to collaborate with peers.

Mallory Van Winkle
Mallory Van Winkle

  • on Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:59 PM

This article sums up an amazing field experience for a fifth grade classroom. The students were truly immersed in an inquiry-based experience where they were designing an investigation, learning to use different tools to collect data, analyzed data and applied results of data collected. The authors did a nice job of explaining how they arranged the different parts of the experience and who they partnered with to provide logistical and scientific support. I like how they started the experience with a watershed model to give students a frame of reference for what they would be studying. This also achieved student buy-in for the experience. Students were in charge of designing their own data collection protocols and worked together in teams to collect and analyze information. This was a top notch experience from start to finish.

Kate Geer  (Louisville, CO)
Kate Geer (Louisville, CO)

  • on Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:47 AM

First, I love the way that the project is student-designed from start to finish. Students even determine what elements need to be included in their journals. Students also build their own models to learn about watersheds in order to prepare for the project. What a great alternative to simply reading about the topic! Secondly, the service learning project to solve problems with the creek directly involves students in a real-life scenario that affects their own community. Very cool. The presentation skills students develop in order to speak to the city council are also one of the highest quality language arts integrated lessons I've read. I think there is a lot of inherent motivation and relevence in the lesson that would encourage students to work hard to make connections among their learning, their observations at the creek and their conjectures.

Christina B
Christina B

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