ENGAGING YOUTH IN NGSS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING PRACTICES IN WATER SCIENCE SUMMER CAMPS
Six NGSS SEPs were highlighted across the camps. Campers analyzed and interpreted data while collecting macroinvertebrate samples from local water bodies to determine the cleanest water source. While learning about filtration, campers planned and carried out an investigation, constructing a filter that produced potable water from local pond water. Campers developed and used models in a game that simulated a water droplet in a watershed and examined the impact that humans have on watersheds. Using stream tables, campers became “erosion control specialists” who constructed explanations about erosion and designed erosion prevention plans for waterfront properties. To promote water conservation, campers obtained, evaluated and communicated information on different practices to conserve water at home. While determining the watershed origin of various water samples, campers used quantitative and qualitative data, such as pH levels and land use, to engage in an argument utilizing evidence.
By doing their own research prior to creating lessons, participants discovered that they felt more successful as facilitators in science discussions and activities in the classroom. By using the NGSS SEPs, the lessons provided engaging activities and experiences that were scaffolded and tailored for each unique age group of students.