Taking Technology into Nature
The integration of technology is fundamental to our middle school environmental science program. Our proximity to the Presidio allows our teachers to be dynamic and innovative in their lesson design. We believe technology literacy is vital, and if applied appropriately, can enhance a facet of science skills. Technology helps our students document seasonal change, collect field data, personalize information, and as a learning accommodation. Our unique approach using Notability for field labs offer students a variety of science instruments and digital tools. Along with our collaboration with Presidio Trust Biologists our students access a plethora of modern tracking and monitoring devices. Our goal is to provide as many different ways to think about science as possible and immerse our students in long-term, more realistic scientific inquiry. We remind our classes that technology is a science tool that allows us to make observations and inferences we couldn't ordinarily make.
Students conducting a stream flow & water quality assessment: El Polin Springs is a 15-minute walk from campus and has two sources. The southern spring typically flows during wetter seasons. The famous west spring, El Polin, hasn't stopped flowing for over 200 years. A unique and tangible example for our students to learn about the ever changing cycles of hydrology and our local Tennessee Hollow Watershed.
7th graders learning to use telemetry tracking devices to monitor 55 newly released native western pond turtles as part of our Mountain Lake restoration partnership with Presidio Biologists.
Middle school students, as part of our acoustic ecology unit, recording 'soundscapes" in the coastal redwood forest & El Polin Spring in the Presidio. Students record sound data samples from different ecosystems and analyze the sources to help determine the acoustic health of different habitats in the Presidio.
7th graders documenting surface fuel build-up in the historic eucalyptus forest & redwood forest. In the lab, with the collected data, students compare forest attributes and build replica models to simulate & compare wildfire burn patterns. Predicting fire behavior based on actual field data, conducting controlled burns, and analyzing evidence are just a few of the benefits of using technology in the field.
Next Generation Science Standards - Observing patterns & seasonal change
Common Core Standards - Collaboration & discussion - Research & information sharing
PHS Habits of Mind - Uses technology safely and responsibly - Evaluates & analyzes information