This is my second time around with the Kansas GK-12 Program and I’m excited to be working with Jesi Rhodes at Santa Fe Trail High School near Carbondale, Kansas. Santa Fe Trail is located in the middle of Kansas farmland. The school environment is fairly laid back with friendly students and faculty. Jesi’s classroom is a perfect hub for science exploration – students can watch as caterpillars turn into Monarch Butterflies, or observe the behavior of Lion Ants (recently one managed to digest a small grasshopper!). Last week students took a look under the microscope at what lives in the local pond water. We found ostracods, Daphnia, copepods and we even watched a worm-like creature excrete digested algae – it was pretty exciting and we had nearly 100% of the classroom engaged and on-task.
This year, Jesi and I have a grand plan to integrate modeling into her 9th grade Biology curriculum and also to create some interactive Environmental Science lesson plans. We’ve completed Lesson #1 on modeling with success! I will post more about our lessons on this blog in the near future.
For now, I’ll give you my “and, but, therefore” summary so you can know a little bit more about what I study and why I think it’s important:
“Kansas reservoirs are critical economic investments serving the water needs for more than 60% of the current population, but our reservoirs are filling with sediment and water quality is compromised by frequent algal blooms due to excessive nutrient pollution; therefore, I use predictive modeling tools to understand climate-landscape-reservoir interactions and provide information to water managers to help plan for an uncertain future.”