Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Land and Water Interacting

A theme we are investigating is how land and water interact in a community. Here are some examples: Agricultural land interacts with water by using the water for farming, watering plants, and cows drinking from rivers and other bodies of water. When it rains the water washes pesticides and chemicals into these streams, along with manure. The rivers will carry these along, water being polluted, polluting land around it, hurting and killing animals/plants in and out of water.

There are also residential uses. Residential means houses and human uses at home. A bad human use might be gardening, fishing, or boating. When you garden there can be chemicals and if the chemicals get in the water it could pollute the water. Boating can also be bad for bodies of water because people might have milfoil on the bottom of the boat and can invade the bodies of water that it travels through.

Commercial and Industrial uses could have a big impact on a body of water near it. For example, factories have sometimes used a nearby body of water for dumping sewage. Businesses use rivers/lakes etc. to provide energy and academic purposes. This change isn’t good for the environment. It could harm the animals that live around the water or that live in the water. Also this business mindset can destroy the balance of animals, plants and more. If water in rivers and streams becomes too polluted, there is no use for it except the initial use of a dumping ground. We don't want another Cuyahoga River.

When all of these uses pollute the water, the land around it will not be so healthy either.

- Ethan, Shannon, Patty, Angelita, Claire, Nicholas, Piper, Maia

Making Elevation Models

In groups of three and four, we made elevation models. We crumpled a piece of paper and then uncrumpled it, making a raised relief map.

We looked at how the crumpled paper was shaped like mountains and valleys. Next, we labeled the high and low elevations and predicted where the water would flow and pool. Then we sprayed water on top of the model, to act as rain.

We watched where the water pooled and flowed while taking notes and reexamined our predictions. We learned that where houses are can affect the flow and quality of the water.

Our conclusion is that water always flows from high to low elevation. Even if the land looks flat, the water will find its way to a river, lake, or another body of water.

- Breanne, Siena, Andrew, Owen, Desmond, Mikalah

Our Watershed Investigation: An Introduction

Our class went to Cedar Lake and made lake scorecards based on how much pollution there is, how much human use, water quality, and the quality of the lake shore habitat. We graded Cedar Lake using the categories above, from 1-4 (1 being the least quality, and 4 being the most).

We wrote a paragraph based on the information we recorded on our score sheets. We wrote why we gave it the score we did. Then, we recorded how the sight, sounds, and smells around the lake. These indicate the health of the ecosystem. After that, we determined if the problems were naturally occurring or human made.

Our class decided to solve some issues facing Cedar Lake. The first problem we decided to solve is the management of Cedar Lake, because we noticed the management sign is about 50-100 feet away from the boat launch and is kind of hidden under a tree. The sign contains information about making sure there are no invasives on your boat before going in the lake. The second problem we decided to solve is how invasives entered Cedar Lake and how to get them out of the lake, and how human use affects the management and invasives in Cedar Lake.

We are keeping a Project Board for this project. Some of the things we want to investigate are:
  • Where does the water in Cedar Lake come from?
  • How does the water quality affect the health of plants and animals?
  • Can we use milfoil as compost?
  • Why does water flow instead of absorbing into the ground?
  • What tests can we do to assess the quality of the water?
  • How does human/animal waste affect water quality?
  • How much water is in the lake? Enough? Too much? Not enough? Does the amount affect the quality?
Connecting to signs of water quality, we also looked at five cups with different liquids. We smelled the liquids and looked at them. A couple of the cups had an odor, and the rest of the cups did not have an odor. The cups were all different shades of color. The activity was testing the quality of the water. We also talked about when we are observing that you are not guessing what the liquid is, you are listing facts based on evidence.

- Liam, Gwen, Carley, Noah, Maxx, Trinity, Evan, Sage