Saturday, June 3, 2017

We are at Waterfest!!

Congratulations to Mrs. Collins' 6th grade class! 
Here's a picture of all your creative and thoughtful work presented at WaterFest! The visitors to WaterFest got to see your posters about stormwater pollutants and explore the Rain-Drain-Pollution-Solution story map to read your full research reports and pollution poems. Everyone was very impressed with the work you did and you helped make them more aware of how to protect our waters.

I am grateful to Mrs. Collins for inviting me to your class. It has been a pleasure to work with all of you and explore the Rain-Drain-Pollution-Solution together. I know our generous guest leaders, Bob Running and Sage Passi enjoyed meeting you also.

All the best to each of you this summer and as you head to RAMS next year!
Mrs. Brigham (Jonee)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Posters and Rain Garden Plans

Today, we finished up our research on stormwater pollutants, made posters about the pollutant to display at Waterfest, and participated in another activity with Sage Passi.

Sage came back to tell us about the rain garden we'll be helping with in 7th grade next year at our middle school. She made a model of a rain garden, describing how its sandy bottom drains well, and the special soils and plants in it help the water soak in. All of this helps remove pollutants from water bodies, like Lake Phalen.

Each of our teams put one kind of storm water pollutant in the model of the rain garden. We compared the water volumen and quality between the rain garden model and the plain old drain model. Boy did the rain garden help!

Thanks for coming to visit us again, Sage!

Here are pictures from our day.

Post Project Questions

Please use this link to answer the questionnaire

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Exploring the Storm Sewers with Bob Running

Today, Bob Running, Storm Sewer Maintenance Crew Chief, City of Maplewood, Public Works Department, came to our class to tell us about his job maintaining storm sewers, show us maps he uses, and take us on a tour of the storm sewers at our school.

Thanks Bob!

Here's some pictures:

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Watershed Stories

Today we had a new guest: Sage Passi, Watershed Education Specialist with Ramsey Washington Metro Watershed District.  We wondered, "what is a watershed?" We learned it is an area of land that drains into a body of water, just like our school is part of a watershed area that drains into Lake Phalen. It can include buildings, roads, and planted areas - what ever is on that land area. She led us in exploring maps that helped us understand how our watershed has changed over the years, with more impervious surfaces (where water does NOT flow through) in place of pervious surfaces (where water DOES flow through.) For example, we looked at an old map of the area around our school that showed fewer houses and streets and more farm fields and natural areas. Now there are more roofs, roads, and driveways. This means we have more run-off of stormwater when it rains, and that can carry more pollutants to our water bodies, like Lake Phalen.

What kind of pollutants? Trash was the first one we thought of, but other pollutants matter too. Like: oil or gravel that might wash off roads, pet waste (like dog poop), road salt, and even leaves and grass. Some of those things like dog poop, leaves, and grass might not matter if there was just a tiny amount, but when it rains, the stormwater can carry that stuff all to one place: like Lake Phalen where the nitrogen and phosphorus in those things can make algae grow, make lakes green, and make it unhealthy by reducing the oxygen that fish and other water life need to live. That's why every bit matters, because our land is all connected to our water...

Sage brought us outside to practice testing the quality of the water.  Here's some of the pictures below. Thanks Sage!

pH testing

Testing for Dissolved Oxygen

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Exploring Examples

Today, we started setting up our ArcGIS Online accounts so we could make maps.
We also looked at examples of GIS story maps that other students have made about water from a project called River Journey. We learned different kinds of questions they explored, and the kinds of things you can do with a story map.

Link to web page with River Journey examples 


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Rain-Drain-Pollution-Solution Launched!

The Rain-Drain-Pollution-Solution project began today!
After we shared what we love about water, we agreed that all those things (from swimming, to drinking water, to bottle flips),  need clean water but we'd heard that some of our water gets polluted. Then we were assigned our mission: To help tell the story of water and how to stop its pollution. Our work will be online and at a presentation at WaterFest so we can help spread the word about keeping water clean.

We opened up the first story map for the project (a story map is an interactive map used to help tell a story.) We found the first place identified on the map was a rectangle on a building and discovered it was Mrs. Collin's Classroom. Our class was already on the map! The map also had another place on it called the "Portal of Secret Wonder" (also known as a "storm drain"). Jonee, the project guide, has a crazy fascination with storm drains and after we raced to the "Portal" she read a poem that the class is going to finish to tell other people about helping water.


I see the clouds, and hear the rain
I watch it flowing down the drain
The junk it carries is pollution
We've got to find a good solution!
Finally, we had a chance to go find what we thought was important and interesting about the school grounds, give it a name, take a picture of it, and describe its features. Tomorrow, we'll make a story map about our important places.