This educational collaboration between Washington University's Tyson Research Center and the Missouri Botanical Garden's Shaw Nature Reserve is designed to engage St. Louis area high school students in scientifically-based exploration of the natural world. Linked programs of field training (SIFT) and field research (TERF) provide teenagers with experiences that realistically reflect research in environmental biology. Participating teens learn a variety of field investigation skills and then have the opportunity to put those new skills to work assisting career scientists with real research projects.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

SIFT Session 1 Day 2

The weather could not be more beautiful! It is around 80˚F with clear skies, a light breeze, and low humidity. What a great day to be out at Shaw!

Unfortunately, we had bus issues again today. The bus did not show up again, and we ended up leaving 40 minutes late from the first stop. We did make up some time on the road, but once again we were 30 minutes behind schedule. We are very frustrated with the bus company and can really do nothing but complain as the mix-ups happen. The teens are being incredibly patient as we work through the issues that come with being the first cohort of a new program. I can't imagine how we would be handling these problems without cell phones!

We have 24 SIFTers participating in Day 2. A few mentioned having ticks attached last night, but most did not. We seem to be past the "panic" associated with the ticks, and now they are more of a known "challenge." We will not be in the deep field areas as much today, so hopefully there will be no ticks to pull this evening...

9:30 Isopod Inquiry - "I notice..." using field notebooks to record observations; group recording of observations; isopod vocabulary (Lydia, James, Tim)

10:15 Science vocabulary activities - getting to know and use scientific root words, prefixes, and suffixes (Tim)
10:45 Classification activities - "One Is, One Isn't" activity; group activity using coins to create branching keys; teams building branching keys using 10 leaves; as a group, convert branching to stacking (Karen)
12:20 Lunch
12:50 The Power of Words/A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words - SIFTers work in groups of 2-3 to describe a place near the Dana Brown Center using either words only or digital camera only; groups switch and see if they can find other groups' place (Tim)

2:00 Introduction to abiotic testing - review abiotic environmental factors; review chemicals (pH, DO, nitrates); explain how to do titrations and color wheel, soil particles; review safety procedures (goggles, wash hands, proper disposal of chemicals); go to stations and conduct tests (Lydia/Barb)

3:15 Debrief session - (Lydia/Barb)
3:45 Quote for the day - (Tim/Aileen)
4:00 Bus loads up