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Albert E. Grice Middle School is located in Hamilton Township, New Jersey. We are located about 15 minutes from Trenton, our state capital. Grice is situated in a middle class suburban area. Grice has approximately 900 students who are divided into two houses, Spirit and Pride. Students are grouped into four sixth grades, two seventh grades, and two eighth grades. Seventh and eighth grade teams each consists of one language arts, mathematics, reading, science, and social studies teacher.

My class consists of nine color computers with speakers and CD-ROMS, a laser disc player with computer interface, a television monitor with audio (English or Spanish), and a LaserJet printer. Each class has between 27 and 30 students.



The seventh and eight grade teams have been working with Science 2000. Science 2000 is an integrated multimedia approach to life. Students are using computer investigations, laser disc player, hands-on-labs, and an assortment of other tools which place them in the role of a scientist. Students are actively doing science instead of passively learning about it as they spend a great deal of time on the computer investigating and researching problems. Higher level thinking skills are utilized in order to solve specific real life problems. The Science 2000 curriculum consists of databases full of information, software simulations, cooperative group work, and computer technology, all used to prepare students for their future. All work generated from the class is organized in a three ring binder which forms their individual laboratory notebook.

Students need to be more actively involved in their learning. Students need to be shown or discover the purpose of the learning. Learning, teaching, and facilating needs to be based on real life problems and real data.

Recent newspaper articles concerning risks in New Jersey water have my students apprehensive about pollution in their drinking water. The first article involved Tom's River, New Jersey. The children's cancer rates were the highest in the state. Health officials suspected for years that water from one of the aquifers contained traces of radioactivity. The aquifer is located in the southern and central parts of New Jersey and services a little more than one million people. Due to new techniques in testing the water, it was discovered that there were other forms of radium in the water. Radium is a naturally occurring radioactive element. It causes bone and nasal cancers but is most dangerous to young children who have developing bone tissue. The body mistakes the radium for calcium and deposits it in the bones. Another news article concerned Fort Dix, New Jersey where nuclear waste materials, which were stored in the ground, have been leaking into the water supply. Warminister, Pennsylvania, news article, Buried Drums may be source of well-water pollution, workers found the four rusted steel drums, which look like 55-gallon containers, in an area which was the former Naval Air Warfare Center. Contractors hired by the U.S. Navy are removing dirt laden with heavy metals and industrial chemicals. They have no idea what is in the drums. Workers found the drums buried near a well that produces water with the highest level of trichloroethlylene, a commonly used degreaser and dry cleaning agent that may be linked to cancer. Improperly stored or dumped into the ground,TCE, as it is commonly called, reaches the ground water, where it contaminates wells. Montgomery, New Jersey, news article, Neighbor: Creeks water gray-green from dust , a nearby resident complained after a heavy rainfall that the creek's waters had turned gray-green. Health officials state that the coloration was traced to a stream that flows through a complex in the Belle Mead section. The torrential rains that soaked the area over the summer caused the sediment pools at the 3M site to overflow. The water, filled with rock dust called mineral finds, breached its containing berms and flowed into Back Brook. Mineral finds are the unstable by-products of the quarrying and crushing processes. It is made of diabase, a hard and inert mineral found in the earth's crust. Health officials indicate that the mineral finds at present do not represent a health risk. The mineral finds will be reclaimed because they do not dissolve in solution. Operating in Montgomery since 1960, 3M extracts roughly 1.25 million tons of rock per year. That produces about 200,000 tons of mineral finds, which go into settling ponds for storage. 3M then removes the dust, mounds it and seeds it with grass or trees to make "new mountains" on the site. The rock which is mined goes into roofing granules, a major component of roofing shingles. It also becomes rail ballast, the stones underlying railroad tracks, and coarse and fine granules for asphalt.



My seventh grade classes are working on a Lake unit. They study and investigate basic units of matter, periodic table, chemical reactions, humans and the environment, plate tectonics, ground water, chemistry of pollution, rock cycle, geologic time, earthquakes, energy transfer, climate and weather, volcanoes ,and oceanography.

Our teams will be working on a section which will integrate language, math, reading, science, social studies, technology, and perhaps art and music. Students will be given a brief scenario of the soil and water problems in their state. Students will be given time to discuss some of the problems and determine how they might go about testing soil and water supplies. Teacher expectations will be discussed and jobs on the internet which will have to be filled. Students will group themselves (4-5 people) into teams. They will decide the division of labor for each team. Members on each team will discuss responsibilities. Students elected to do searches will be given key words (to be determined) to be used on the internet. Students in their searches on the internet will find 2-3 programs that can help navigate the internet, using search tool and a single or series of key words supplied returns a list of sites that contain or relate to the keyword, user will record site, and observe the information to determine its usefulness to the project and record results.

The students will also be working with two of our local schools, as well using the internet to obtain a list of schools throughout the United States. Each of the teams will be responsible for using the acquired list to contact and recruit other middle school teachers in different school districts. Hopefully, we can get at least one school from each section of the United States. They will converse via e mail with the other schools and determine where to investigate the soil and water samples, what they will be looking and testing for in the samples, what tests will give the best results, and how will they go about recording the results.






Students will complete the overall collection of soil and water samples. They will present their results in a graphic format of their choice using charts, graphs, overhead projector, videos, and/or laser disc, etc. Students will compare and contrast their results with teams from other schools. Students will describe their surrounding areas and what may or not be the difference in their results. Discussion with other schools involved in the project are still ongoing. Students will discuss any problems they encountered and remedey for them. Students' final results will be posted on the project web site.


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Created for the NTEP II Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab, and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.

Author(s): Rosanne Fabiny
School: Albert E. Grice Middle School, Hamilton Township, New Jersey
Created: November 17, 1998 - Updated: November 10, 2001
URL: /ntep/f98/projects/pppl/backyard/scenario.html