A CIESE Collaborative Project

Spring 2001 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


Lebanon Grade School Summerfield Grade School (4) Summerfield Grade School (3) Home School, Reno Nevada
Home School, Montrose PA Georgetown American School  International School of Beijing 


Lebanon Grade School
4th Grade
Friday, May 11, 2001

Hello, this is the final report from the Lebanon 4th Grade, Lebanon, Illinois. Our trip to the Locust Hills Golf Course was a great success. We found HUGE tadpoles, snails, and golf balls.  We viewed frogs, snakes, turtles, and fish in their natural habitats. The highlight of the trip was using our nets to catch different plant and animal life. We then observed our species under a microscope. We were concerned about the amount of litter, and discovered since the coliform bacteria level was poor, the pond wasn't swimable or drinkable. Everyone agreed it was a great trip, and we presented our test results in a Power Point Presentation at an open house for our parents and friends. Our student teacher, Mrs. Colby, helped us a lot. We couldn't have done it without her.

Summerfield Grade School
4th Grade
Friday, May 18, 2001

Hello fellow pond friends! Our trip to the Locust Hills Golf Course pond (28 meters in diameter) was a great learning experience. The lake was slightly polluted with litter and golf balls. It was a sunny, warm (35 C)day. We observed many tadpoles, birds, cattails, algae, and other plant life growing. We divided into groups of 2 (along with parental help)to run the tests and to take both digital pictures and photos. Other than that the coloform bacteria level was poor, we found that the pond was a good source for animal and plant life. Our most exciting experience came in catching a 5" long tadpole, putting it in an aquarium, and watching it fully
develop into a frog in 3 weeks. We then let it go in a nearby creek. We are currently putting the finishing touches on our powerpoint presentation which will be presented on our final day of school. At that time our parents can view our entire learning experience along with our research booklets and the four seasons of the pond posters. Thanks to Mrs. Woods, Mrs. Buehler, and Mrs. Owen for all their help.

Summerfield Grade School
3rd Grade
Friday, June 08, 2001


The third grade class went to one of the three ponds at Locust Hills Golf Course in Lebanon, Illinois. We conducted the eight tests in small groups with the help of an adult in each group.  We discovered that the pond is a good environment for animal and plant life. All of the tests  results were very good with the exception of the coliform bacteria test. The test indicated bacterial contamination.

The air temperature on April 27, 2001, at 1:30 p.m. was 30 C degrees, and the water temperature 28C. If we were to do this test again, we would watch that result more carefully.  The group which did this test probably did not leave the thermometer in the water long enough to get an accurate reading.

The students enjoyed the project very much. They collected samples of algae and water and brought those back to the school. They found several small frogs which they also brought back to school to observe. After several days those frogs were released in a nearby creek.  One student found a golf club in the water and the golf course was happy to have that returned. Another student caught a turtle which was at least 10 inches in diameter. We did not have a tape measure with us, and we did not take the turtle out of his environment in order to measure him. After all the students had a chance to see him and we had our picture taken with him, we returned him to the pond.

The students made pond folders of all their worksheets and pictures. Then they made a power point presentation for the parents who were going to come to school on the last day of school. The power point presentation was also available to the other students in the school.

This was a very exciting project for the students. They will always remember this as the highlight of their third grade year.

Home School, Reno Nevada
6th grade
Friday, May 18, 2001

Project name: Truckee River
Location: EPA Region IX/ East-central California,
W. NV Crystal Peak Park, Verdi, NV  Township 19 N. NE 1/4 of sec. 18 Range 18 E. SW 1/4 of sec. 18 ,  20 minutes west of Reno

My original hypothesis was that the water would be of higher quality than it is. We found that there apparently were little or no nitrates, in fact, we tested 6 times,
including our aquarium to assure the testing materials.  The results remained the same, excluding the aquarium, where the levels of nitrate were high.  We also found that the Truckee River contained high levels of coliform.  The remaining tests established that the river contained normal ranges of PH, Phosphates, DO, BOD and relatively clear turbidity.  The lack of nitrates is puzzling, because that would suggest a dead river.  We tested on 3-25-01 and 4-9-01.

We also tested at home and found that the coliform was still positive in our drinking water. (eeeewwww!!)  Which leads me to believe that our drinking water is not safe for human consumption!!!!!!  Everything else dropped in levels except for the PH, which went from 8 ppm to 8.5 ppm.  We tested our home on 4-16-01.

In conclusion, I gathered that there wouldn't be much difference in drinking from the river, and that our processing plant is not up to standards in the Reno area.

Home School, Montrose PA
6th Grade
Friday, June 08, 2001

I tested water at Silver Creek in Salt Springs State Park (latitude 41.54.26 and Longitude 25.52.06) on April 25 at 10:00 AM. My hypothesis was that the stream that I was testing would have high nitrate and phosphate levels because there are many farms nearby. But when I tested the water, no traces of these were found. The temperature of the water was 8.33C, our pH was 6.9 and DO was 11.94ppm. I found that the water was a good place for Macroinvertebrates because we found the stream crawling with them - there were literally too many of each species to count!   We identified a number of species including stonefly, mayfly, caddisfly, cranefly, water penny, water striders, crayfish (at different stages of development) and too many spiders! I was very suprised that the quality of the stream water was so good because of all the farms around it.

I had a great time participating in this project and seeing the data from places all around the world.

Georgetown American School
Grades 9 - 12
Friday, June 08, 2001

Our water was taken from a pond at the back of the laboratory where we did our sample tests.  First we took the temperature of the water then we filled a container with water and covered it under the water.  We then tookmost of our test on the same day. The coliform test took a few days because the faectal test was positve.  In the pond then was a lot of healthy plant as well as animal they all look good and it seemed as though there was a good relationship in the pond.Our nitrate test even verified what we are saying. Our DO level, our turbidity and our BOD level agreed with each other.

International School of Beijing
Grade 7
Monday, June 11, 2001

APRIL 27, 2001

The 27th of April, we went to our stream study science trip. The stream was in HuaiRou, and my group number and letter was 3C.

When we arrived at the Stream Site, we noticed the weather was pretty cool, around 20 C I guess. It was humid, because it had just rained earlier on, and it was still a bit windy. When we came to our part of the stream, we noticed the water was quite clear, but a bit muddy at some places, and overall it was pretty clean, cleaner than I had expected. In our 6 meters of water, there were a lot of rocks, both big and small, mostly in the right part, but of course there were other rocks spread out in other parts of the water. On the left side, bordering group 3Bs area, there were a lot of big rocks too, and only between some rocks, the water
was being linked. On both sides of the water, it was pretty shallow, but in the middle it was pretty deep, much deeper than the rest. Our part of the stream didnt seem to be moving much, but once we recorded the velocity, it was actually more than we thought. Another thing was that our water was really cold! I got a close-up experience on that! Around our stream area, there were rocks and pebbles, like there was in the stream too. A bit further away there was a fairly
large bit of grass. That was basically all that was growing around the stream. Around the Stream, behind it was the big area of Grass, and on the front there was a cliff, from a mountainous area. This is also where we came from, and to get to the stream, we had to climb down that cliff. Back further away from the grass, there is also some really big mountains, so you can see in our photos in the Student Area that the entire area is a really rocky and mountainous area!

We measured the Depths, Widths, Temperature and the Velocity of our stream part. The width for the different parts of our area: 6.4 m at 0 m, 7.6 m at 1.5 m, 8.7 m at 3 m, 4.29 m at 4.5 m, and 4.15 m at 6 m, the end of our area. Here you can see that the more in the middle the wider, and where the rocks are, its much narrower, because the upper part over the rocks, there was a part of land sticking out into the water. When we measured the Depth, we had to measure it at three points, at each 1.5 meters. Most measurements were pretty similar, so we found the average. The averages were: 40.666 cm at 0 m, 24 cm at 1.5 m, 23 cm at 3 m, 11.666 cm at 4.5 m, and 13.666 cm at 6 m. So you can see that its deeper in the beginning and the middle, but its much shallower at the end, where all the rocks were. The temperatures we took were basically all the same, all around 10 C degrees (we had to take three tests here too). The averages were: 9.666 C at 0 m, 9.833 C at 1.5, and 10 C for all the others, 3 m, 4.5 m and 6 m. You can see that the temperatures were very close to each other. The last thing we measured was the Velocity. We tried it three times, by having a Ping-Pong ball, seeing how long it would take for it to travel one meter. The three results we got were: 0.9 m/s, 0.74 m/s and 0.5m/s, and our average were 0.71333 m/s.

We also did some other chemical tests. We tested the pH value, Phosphate, Dissolved Oxygen and Nitrate. The pH value was between 6-7, which is pretty good. The Phosphate value is 0! The Dissolved Oxygen Value is 6-10 ppm (Parts per million), and the Nitrate value is a bit less than 1 ppm.

Basically, the stream trip was pretty fun, but we should have gotten more time, then we probably would have caught some more macroinvertebrates.

Analysis of Stream Health
According to our Information at the Stream, our stream was actually quite healthy! We recorded pH, Phosphate, Dissolved Oxygen and Nitrate (Nitrogen) levels of the stream. Our results were: pH: 6-7, Phosphate: 0 ppm (parts per million), Dissolved Oxygen: 6-10 ppm, Nitrate: A little bit less than one ppm. The ppm stands for, if you broke the water into one million equal pieces, how many would be of whatever substance you are focusing at.

pH stands for potential Hydrogen, and tells how acidic or basic the water is. On a scale of 1 to 14, the lower number the stream is, the more acidic it is, and the more it is, the more basic it is. The healthy level for pH is 6.5-8.2. Our stream is at 6-7, so we should consider it healthy enough, for the environment it is being in.

Phosphate is a chemical plant fertilizer that is essential for plant life, but if theres too much in the water, the plants grow too much, and block out sunlight from the water, causing life in water to die. Healthy level for Phosphate is around 0.3 ppm, and our is less than that, showing that its healthy in that category too.

Oxygen is just as essential for life in water as it is for us, if theres too little of it, plants and anything else in the water, just simply die. In water, oxygen takes its form in a dissolved form. Dissolved Oxygens healthy level is above 8 ppm. Most of our stream is above it, so its fairly well in that category.

And last but not least, Nitrate. This is also a plant fertilizer that is very similar to Phosphate.  It has basically the same effects, and if theres too much, the plants grow too much and blocks sunlight. Unpolluted waters generally have a nitrate-level of below one. Our stream is great here!

We found a few macro invertebrates in our area that were pretty interesting. Under a medium sized rock I found a large hellgrammite, which has tolerance level of 1. My team members found 2 mayfly nymphs and a scud (tolerance level 4) in some rocky areas. In the pool we found two very small crayfish (tolerance level 4) by using our net. In the whole of group 1 there were many different macro invertebrates. They were 1 riffle beetle (adult), 2 snails, 1 midget fly, 1 black fly, 6 more
hellgrammites and 2 filtering caddis flies. There was no vegetation in the water in our area probably because the water was so fast moving. By finding the level of tolerance of those Macros, we also can find good information on the stream health. Of all the Macroinvertebrates we found, most of them would be found in healthy streams, so the stream is great in that category too! Overall, I think that in the environment and human-interacted habitat the stream is being in, its doing really well!

Comparison from Last Year
When we look at the map of the person that did my section last year, 3C, you can clearly see a difference. In the top-right corner, on my map, there is a big chunk of land, but on the map last year, there was only a big rock there, not really land. Also, on the leftern border to 3B, on my map, there are some pretty big rocks, but last year, there werent any rocks there!  Weve heard that there has been a drought this year, but those rocks not being visible last year, is really amazing! In the bottom-right corner, right now there are lots and lots of rocks, but last year you couldnt see any from the water surface. Last year, basically the whole
section was water, except for the truly huge rocks, that showed last year, and now, after the drought, you can see so many more rocks!