Studying stream quality at the library

Clermont County homeschool students from age 5 to 15 benefitted from Kristine Brookover’s participation in the summer Feed the World workshop! Brookover teaches a group class for homeschoolers at the New Richmond branch, and she shared the water quality lessons with the students.

When teachers did this activity at the Feed the World Workshop she attended last summer, Brookover knew immediately this would be a great lesson to use with the homeschool group at the library. While the library is close to the Ohio River, it is not possible for them to actually go to the river for a program, so the simulated stream was useful. Brookover created her own simulated stream and collected water samples from nearby creeks and streams.

“We began the lesson with a discussion about the local bodies of water including East Fork Lake which has had problems in the past with algal blooms. We talked about what factors could affect the quality of the water and then how we could determine whether our water quality was excellent, good, fair or poor. After a discussion on how to do biotic water sampling using macroinvertebrates and chemical tests to determine water quality, the kids got to work. It was great to see the kids, especially the younger ones, discussing the characteristics of the organisms and using the key to identify the macroinvertebrates. They were so excited when they figured one out and marked it on their form. The kids and parents alike were eager to perform the chemical tests, something they are unlikely to do at home.”

Brookover said that throughout the lesson, the students were thinking critically and asking lots of questions which sparked some good discussion. A library patron approached Brookover to tell her that several children came out after the program and were excited to share with her what they had done and learned.

“This is a great lesson that can be used for a variety of ages. They worked together with the older kids helping the younger kids. Even though the younger kids may not have fully understood everything they were doing they were still able to go through the process and see how science could be applied to real life.”

Brookover said she enjoyed attending the Feed the World workshop. “It is great to talk with other educators and see how they use these activities with their students. I also love the fact that the presenters don’t just tell us about the labs and how to do them but that we actually get to be the student and perform the labs and activities.”

Watch for upcoming workshops on our website!