Handbook of Engaged Learning Projects


Project Summary

HELP Index
Student Pages

Subject/Content Area:

Environmental Science

Target Audience:

Middle school level - all students, including gifted, learning-disabled, behavior-disordered and limited English proficient

Project Goals:

As a result of their participation in the Salt Creek Investigation, the students will develop the abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry. They will increase their understanding of factors affecting environmental quality, including the interdependence of organisms, and human-induced hazards. Students will learn how science and technology can help people solve local, national and global environmental problems.

Learner Outcomes: Students will:

Alignment with National Standards: The Salt Creek Investigation demonstrates elements of the National Science Education Standards:

This project also demonstrates elements of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Curriculum Standards for Grades 5-8: 4, 7, 10 and 13.

Assessment of Students:

The teacher continually assesses student performance throughout this project. Much of the assessment is teacher observation, such as informal observations of the students at the creek to determine if they are carrying out testing procedures completely and accurately. The teacher reviews the data collected by the students to check its reasonableness. The teacher also engages in informal conversation and questioning of students to determine the depth of their understanding of testing procedures and the reasons why these tests are important. The teacher carries out other, more formal assessments. Following their monitoring visits to the creek, each group of students will give a presentation to the class to explain what test they carried out, why they performed the test, what data they collected and what conclusions they draw from their data. After the students have completed two stream monitoring visits to the creek, they will individually develop hypotheses to solve the problem, "What can be done to improve the water quality of Salt Creek?" Students will then work in groups to investigate their hypotheses using a variety of resources, a list of which they submit to the teacher. Finally, each group reports the results of their investigation to the class, summarizing the relevant information found and evaluating their original hypothesis.

Authors: Dr. Bonnie Kuhrt, Kathe Lacey-Anderson and Kim Provus from Carl Sandburg Jr. High School in Rolling Meadows, Illinois for the Handbook of Engaged Learning Projects sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab. Funded by the Midwest Consortium for Mathematics and Science Education based at the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL).
Created: July 1, 1996 - Updated: August 9, 1999