Introduction

Introduction:

Students in the fourth grade bilingual class at Almaden Elementary School collaborated with the students at River Glen and Zanker School as part of their BioSITE project. The information that they gathered and the activities that they participated in were shared with the students in the other two schools. In turn, the students at Almaden read the newsletters created by the seventh graders at River Glen and heard about what was being done at Zanker School.

Guadalupe Creek Research: BioSITE

Almaden students participate in a year-long study of a local creek, the Guadalupe Creek, and learn about the watershed it is part of. They meet by the creek once a month to work with high-school age mentors to conduct water quality testing. These include temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, conductivity, and rate of flow. They learn about each of the test norms for most creek dwellers and predict how fluctuations can impact organisms, and what might cause fluctuations, especially pollution and weather. Students see examples of debris pollution, the effects of erosion and storm damage. The water quality data is documented and discussed. These and other activities are documented online on the link at the top of the page: 'Guadalupe Creek Research.' These pages were shared with students from River Glen and Zanker Schools.

While the high school students provided equipment for water quality testing, some of our students had the opportunity to use temperature probes with a Palm Pilot as well. A step-by-step webpage guide was put together on how to use this technology and upload data to a laptop computer for further analysis or graphing. Students were amazed to see the minute increments of a single degree of Celsius that the probe was able to sense and record in short timed intervals. They were also surprised to see that the water temperature was not steady, but continuously fluctuating within hundreths of a degree increments. At the top of this page, click 'Using the Palm' to view the guide.


Almaden students read and reflected on the newsletters researched and produced by River Glen students. One newsletter highlighted the topic of watersheds and the other, water pollution. The newsletters were used as part of an English Language Development (ELD) lesson focused on BioSITE. Students discussed how information from the newsletter amplified their creek learning experience. They followed up by writing letters to the River Glen students. Click the 'Letters to Students' link at the top to view samples of student letter writing.