A CIESE Collaborative Project

Fall 2000 Student Final Reports

All classes participating in this project have been asked to submit a final report to the project Discussion Area. In this report, students share what they have learned from doing the project. Read on to see the results of the students' hard work!
Primary Purpose: To look for relationships and trends among the data collected by all project participants.

Student Final Reports are posted here...
Please look at final reports from previous project runs at:
Past Projects


Northfield Middle/High School Shaker Heights Mason Elementary
Northern Arizona Academy Rogers High School Optics Center School
Enchanted Lake Elementary School Temple Street Academy


Northfield Middle/High School
Wednesday, 8 November 2000

We tested the Dog River in Northfield, Vermont at 44:09:04 N 72:39::25 W. We collected river data over a three week period collecting data on
macroinvertebrates, physical characteristics, and chemical analysis.

Many students made predictions that the water quality of our river would be poor. Our data supported the hypothesis that the water quality was of excellent

The main macroinvertebrates that were collected were pollution sensitive species such as stoneflies, caddisflies, and mayflies. We also found some water pennies,
fishfly larvae, and cranefly larvae. We determined a biotic index value that indicated our water quality was excellent.

The physical characteristics we observed were: most of the river bottom was cobbles, vegetation along both banks, little bank erosion, and minimal amounts of trash.
The average temperature of the water was 11 degrees Celsius.

We tested the Dissolved Oxygen, phosphate, nitrate, and pH of the river water. The DO level we found was 9.8 ppm. The phosphate and nitrate levels were both
less than 1 ppm. The pH of the water was 7.5. The Q-values for each of these tests was in the excellent range.

Based on this data, we concluded that the Dog River water quality was in excellent condition.

Some things we learned from this river project were the different types of macroinvertebrates, what DO and BOD are, and how phosphate and nitrate are nutrients
that affect algae growth which can affect DO levels.

Shaker Heights
Miss Sankovich
Wednesday, 18 October 2000

In order to complete all the tests in one 50 minute class period, students in the three classes were divided up into expert groups where each group were to be
responsible for certain tests. On October 4, each group presented their information to their peers. The following Wednesday in the computer lab all students
accessed this web site to glean the information already submitted by both periods as well as data from other watersheds. They then were to compare the results.

Questions were posed which they had to analyze and then finished the activity by writing a several paragraph essay identifying the following the information:

School name, location, grade/subject area What was something new that you learned? What were some of the relationships between water quality and the physical
surroundings of the water shed? What were some of the relationships between what is dissolved in the water and the surrounding ecosystem? What conclusions did
they reach? What would you have done differently? Did our results agree with our hypothesis/

Below are some of the comments from the 11th and 12th graders of Shaker Heights High School CHEMCOM arranged by period:

6/7 period

I learned about the effects of every substance in the water has on others and the interdependence of charateristics like phosphates and algae growth. A main
relationship between the quality of the water and the physical characteristics in and around the watershed are very similar. The dissolved oxygen had a relationship
with the surrounding ecosytems because if the temperature was lower, then there is a high amount of oxygen. One of the conclusions I reached was that the
surrounding ecosytem has a major effect on a body of water near the ecosytem. If I were to do this experiment again, I would run more experiments over a longer
period of time to get more accurate results. Next time when I test I might want to take more than one sample from the area I am working at from a different part.

9th period

Green Lake is near a golf course, where the grass is artificially fertilized. When these chemical enter the water, it creates plants and algae to grow more rapidly than
usual. I can conclude that Doan Creek is not as bad as we thought it was when compared to other systems. If I had another chance to research our area, I would
take more of a caution when recording and observing data. If I were to do this project again I would pay more attention to the surroundings than to the water itself.
Our lakes are surrounded by residential users, which could affect the water quality.

Teacher comments:

Also, it is wonderful to see students to begin to think about their surroundings and realize that they are just a spoke in a larger wheel rather than the entire wheel.

I was the first chemcom teacher to perform this lab and the other teachers will may post a message expressing their final reports for their classes. Mrs. Miller classes,
2 total, performed the experiment about 1 week after I did, and Mrs. Nackely just completed the project. This should provide a nice comparisions over time for the
water quality.

Miss Sharron K. Sankovich

Manson Elementary Railroad Creek Report (Click on "Photos" page to see the photos and report)

 Railroad Creek was cold at the touch of a fingertip.  It was very clear and clean.  There was no litter in it and you could see the bottom as good as you could see the trees.  At 10:00 AM on the 11th of October, 2000, the air temperature was 11 degrees Celsius.  The water temperature was 8 degrees Celsius at 4 inches under water.

The surrounding was beautiful and relaxing.  There were plenty of trees in Holden and around Railroad Creek.  Some trees were young and some were small.  Most of them were green and healthy.  Railroad Creek was a spectacular sight.  If you ever go up to Holden Village, be sure to visit Railroad Creek.  It was a habitat to many animals and meant much to the people.  Remember, please dont pollute our creeks, rivers, and lakes.

This is how we got our water insects.  First we marked off our space, then we set a big net at the end of our spot with  two people  holding it up so any bug that fell would be caught.  After all this we then put a little water in a bucket and got out the brushes.  Finally Mrs. Page (our teacher) stepped into the water, with rubber boots on, and started to hand us rocks to scrape off over the bucket, so any thing on the rock would fall into the bucket.  We needed to make sure that we scraped the bottom of the rock because insects live on the bottom of rocks.  We didnt scrape all the rocks in the area because there would be a big hole and we would be there for a long time. When we were done we shook all the bugs on the net into the bucket and walked back to our camp at Holden. A couple of people from the sixth grade class and a biologist helped count the insects.  At first we tried to just pick them out of the bucket which was not easy.  When we had picked out as many as we could, we took out some of the debris.  When most of the debris was picked out, we poured the remaining debris, insects, and water into two butter dishes.  After we had done that, we picked out more debris and started looking for the insects.  When we were positive we had all the insects out of the butter dishes, we looked on the nets to see if any bugs were still clinging on the net.  If we found any, we put them in the butter dish too.  Once we were sure we had all the insects in ice trays, we counted them all.Our count showed:  36 mayflies (ClassInsecta, OrderEphemeroptera, GenusEpeorus) 6 stoneflies (Class--Insecta, OrderPlecoptera, GenusHesperoperla) 3 caddisflies (Stone house caddisLimnephilidae Dicosmoecoes and Stick house caddisLimnephilidae Onocosmoecus)1 unidentified fly larvae
These water tests were done in Railroad Creek above the mine by 2 high school counselors.  Since we do not know how to convert the drops to ppm, the Dissolved Oxygen that we submitted, 11.6,  was a figure from a data sheet prepared by scientists involved in an environmental study of the area.Dissolved Oxygen Test:  10 drops of Sodium Thiosulfate Titrant(we just found out we do not know how to change that to ppm)PH: 7Another test was done in the water seeping out of the old Holden Copper Mine.  Dissolved Oxygen Test:  15 drops of Sodium Thiosulfate.PH: 7
An environmental specialist who was at Holden Village to supervise the reopening of Holden Copper Mine told us that the location we collected insects might still have seepage from the mine. We were upstream from the mine tailings, but we were straight down the mountain from the mine settling ponds.  The water seeping out of the mine is very high in minerals.  Iron precipitates in the creek and collects on the rocks.  Many rocks become cemented together with iron precipitates.  This interferes with insects, especially the burrowing and scraping insects.  He recommended we look further upstream and likely find more insects.  The next collection we took from ¾ mile upstream.
 Mine tailings above Railroad Creek
At the new location, we found a 3 foot square area to sample.  After scraping only 3 rocks we counted 24 mayflies.  We then continued to scrape at least 30 more rocks.  We knew we had a lot of insects to count.  We found a healthy sized stonefly and several caddisfly cases with larva.  We took the collection back to the Creekside room for counting.
We were in for a surprise when we gathered to count our sample.We left a lot of mayflies and one stonefly in a bucket for about two hours, not knowing that the stonefly was a carnivore.  When we came back there were only 14 mayflies, and we didnt know what had happened to the poor mayflies.  Then we got a thought. We made an experiment that involved a mayfly and a stonefly.  We put one stonefly and one mayfly in a small ice tray.  In a few minutes we  began to realize what happened to all our mayflies as the stonefly slowly devoured the mayfly.

Northern Arizona Academy
November 17, 2000

We finally got out to do our water tests. It snowed the day we'd planned but we made it out there on November 8,2000. It was 0 degrees and the pond had two
inches of ice on it. We broke through the ice and collected our samples then tested them right there. The water was really filthy but it was too cold to want to chance
falling in it just to smell it. We could not see any fish or plants because of the ice. Our hypothesis was that Patrick's Pond is being polluted by camping activities,
livestock (cattle and sheep) operations, and atmospheric pollution caused by cities inline with the prevailing jet stream winds. Due to the results of the water quality
tests, we can say it is polluted.

Patrick's Pond is a popular campsite; it is unrestricted and heavily overused. It is located at Latitude N34 degrees 19.715 inches and Longitude West 110 degrees
45.688 inches. The pond is located on the Mogollon Rim approximately 120 miles from Phoenix.

Although our dissolved oxygen count was way off, we did find evidence of phosphates, coliform bacteria, and the ph level was acidic with a reading of 6.2. We
believe the phosphate level is due to campers who use it as a sewage dump site and a place to dump their washing water. We also believe it comes from the
precipitation which comes across Southern California and Phoenix basins. We also have a pulp mill in the area but we don't think the winds push the emissions
toward the rim.

We believe the coliform bacteria is from human/animal waste and it is not normally found in unpolluted lakes and ponds. We know this to be a dangerous pollutant
which requires direct intervention if this natural resource is to be restored. The pond is vital for livestock, and is a reliable water source (supplied by a spring) and
edible plants can be found in the area. The site has been environmentally degraded by human activities and has had no chance to repair itself. Careless campers
dump the RV tanks into the pond, defecate close to the water, and let their animals roam free. All of these factors contribute to the coliform present in the area.

We believe the acidity of the pond to be directly caused by acid rain/snow but we will have to do further studies before reaching a conclusion. We do know that pine
trees, animals, and camping can affect the ph level. We also know it would be more acidic were it not situated on limestone.

Our conclusion that pollution exists and that we must solve these problems soon in order to have a safe habitat and this will require direct human intervention to keep
this pond safe.

Rogers High School
Mr. Dark
November 21, 2000

The students of Mr. Dark's chemistry class (approximately 140)had a great time measuring several water quality parameters at Frisco Spring and Lake Atalanta on
October 13th and 16th of this year. Diamond Spring is a tributary of Lake Atalanta; both have been used as a source of water for the city of Rogers. The
coordinates for Diamond Spring are: 36 degrees 19'54" North latitude, and 94 degrees 06'13" West longitude. Lake Atalanta's coordinates are: 36 degrees, 20' 06"
North latitude, and 94 degrees 06'10" West latitude.

Lake Atalanta supports many varieties of fish life, including bass, catfish, crappie, and perch. Diamond Spring also supports a variety aquatic life such as crayfish,
turtles, and bugs, and several different plants like water cress. The water, although shallow, looked crystal clear.

Conclusions: We hypothesized that there was an adequate supply of dissolved oxygen, due to the abundance and diversity of life forms. We learned that dissolved
oxygen concentration increased downstream from where Diamond Spring comes out of the rocks for two reasons: 1) Exposure to air 2) Aeration from flowing over
the rocks

However, as the water flowed toward Lake Atalanta, its temperature increased. Over a distance of about 400 meters, the water temperature increased two degrees
celsius. Because of the temperature increase, we saw dissolved oxygen levels decrease slightly.

We were not sure how much nitrate and phosphate would be present in the water. There are homes in the area that are on septic systems, and many people
probably fertilize their lawns. So, we thought that there might be higher levels of nitrate and phosphate than we actually found. It is possible that these pollutants might
increase in concentration after a heavy rain. We would also like to test for coliform bacteria in the future.

This was a fun and interesting project to do. Hopefully, we will continue to check the quality of the water in this and other areas around Beaver Lake. It's important
to the whole region that the water remain clean and unpolluted.

Optics Center School
November 22, 2000

Options Center 169 40th Street Pgh., PA 15201

Our school examined a local pond situated just a few miles North of the city on a nature preserve. We collected all of our data during one afternoon. We had
already performed practice tests with the school aquarium.

Several students felt the ponds' health might be in jeopardy due to what they presumed to be an "overabundance" of plant life. They thought perhaps there would be
little dissolved oxygen in the water due to excess decaying plant matter which could lead to eutrophication. Others believed our numbers would fall into the
"acceptable" range due to the physical observation of diverse plant and animal species present.

After conducting tests for nitrates, phosphates, PH, temperature and dissolved oxygen, we found the levels to be in the "good" range. The dissolved oxygen reading
was almost 10ppm, and the phosphate/nitrate concentrations were both less than 1ppm. The PH was also well within the acceptable limits for most freshwater fish

We would like to continue our investigation in the spring in greater depth by also including a study of various aquatic insects and other lifeforms as indicators of pond
and stream health.

Enchanted Lake Elementary School
November 23, 2000

We are 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students from Enchanted Lake Elementary School in Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii. On Nov. 6, 2000, we went on a walking trip to
Kaelepulu pond which is very close to our school. We were divided into teams of two. Each group was assigned to do one of the following water quality test:
Coliform, Nitrate, Phosphate, DO, pH, Turbidity, BOD, Temperature, and Salinity. We tested each twice in the same day. We tested at the bird sanctuary and at
the bridge of Kaelepulu Pond also known as Enchanted Lake. Kaelepulu pond is located close to our school. We were told to make a hypothesis before we test the
water. Almost every group predicted that their results would be bad because of the smelly pond.

While at the bird sanctuary at Kaelepulu Pond we made observations of our surroundings. The smell was unpleasant because it smelled like rotten eggs. We saw a
lot of ducks, geese, and two endangered species, the coot and stilts. There were approximately 30-40 different birds milling around. It was slightly windy, and a little
overcast. Many days before our trip to the pond we had enormous amounts of rain. We even had a flash flood warning.

These are our final results on our water testing: The poor results were turbidity which had an average of 30 JTU and the coliform test was positive. The rest of the
results demonstrated good water quality such as the nitrate that had a reading of 0, phosphate a reading of 2.5 PPM, and pH had an average reading of 7.7. The
temperature of our water was 27 degrees C which is 80 degrees F.

We compared the results with the other schools from the project. Not everyone tested for coliform, but 7 of the 9 schools that did test for coliform had a positive
result. We even wrote to one of the schools to interpret their coliform reading because we didn't understand what 220 meant. They were nice to email us back. They
told us that they measured fecal coliform using Millipore filtration methods and the limit for "primary contact" in stream waters is 200 colonies per 100 ml. So this
means it is not too good. This also means George Washington High School had a very bad coliform reading if it was 10,000. Our turbidity result was rather poor
compared to the other turbidity test results in the project. Nitrate was one of the best results among the participants. Our temperature was the warmest because of
our tropical waters.

After reviewing our test results, we were surprised that our water quality results were pretty good. The coliform test result kind of bothered us because it indicates
the presence of fecal, animal or maybe human poop, in the water (yuk!) Maybe its because of all the geese, ducks, and the birds that are in the area. I would
suggest that we move out some of the alien ducks and place them in another location. I wouldn't suggest we move out any geese since they are migratory and wont
be here all year. Turbidity was the other test with poor results. It indicates that here is a lot of suspended matter in the water. If some of this suspended matter is silt,
I would suggest dredging the pond to get rid of some of the silt that has accumulated. We also should go back to the pond and do several more water quality tests
since we tested the water right after the heavy rain. It is possible that the rain diluted our murky lake. Also after learning about watersheds and storm drains, it could
be that all the runoff from the streets may have affected our test results. So as you can see we really should test the pond again. We certainly learned a lot from this
project! Mahalo!

Temple Street Academy
November 29, 2000

We learned a lot doing the water sampling project , not the least of which is that ponds that look like springs -- may not be!  Our "spring" turned out
to be a storm water pond with mysterious pipes bubbling up mysterious water.  We learned the pond was a stormwater system after doing our sampling, but
the results are still important.

Our "pond" was a warm body of water at 24 degrees celcius.   We did see fish and water plants growing in the pond, although the water was a sort of
"mucky, greenish, yellowish, brown."  The lake surroundings were manicured and mowed, with mulch pathways around the pond, and picnic tables beside the
pond. The pond is near tennis courts and a golf course, and in the middle of a neighborhood.

It had a pH reading of 8.2, which was fair to poor, and a low dissolved oxygen level of 4PPM, which suggested the pond wasn't in the best of shape.
We weren't able to get accurate nitrates readings, but our phosphate was pretty good at 1 PPM. The biggest surprise was that this recreational pond,
where local residents picnic and fish, tested positive for coliform.  Gross!   We're still in the process of trying to locate the local homeowner's
association president to let him or her know, although some other residents in the community are now aware of the problem.

We did see a relationship between the temperature of the water, in the database of results, and the amount of dissolved oxygen. The warmer the
water, the less dissolved oxygen there seemed to be in it.  The cooler bodies of water seemed to be among the healthiest.  In looking through the
database, the results of most of the other schools seem consistent regarding temperature, and good pH, dissolved oxygen and nitrate levels and the health
of the water. We especially noticed the similarities between our water results and Enchanted Lakes Elementary in Hawaii.  We both have tropical
temperature waters and are in relatively populated areas where run-off is an issue.

From what we can see, the health of most of the water tested was "fair," with a few exceptions that were exceptionally unhealthy or in good shape.
We were saddened to see that six bodies of water had coliform in them.  But we enjoyed doing the project, and the results made us more aware of what may
be in our water, no matter how pretty it may look.

Temple St. Academy