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 14, 2016

SIFT Training Week - Day 2

This day is all about observation. Although it was a hot morning, it was pretty comfortable as we worked under the Glassberg Family Pavilions.  After starting the morning off with some nature sketching, we moved on to close observation of isopods - better known as pillbugs and sowbugs. Students were asked to draw the isopods with as much detail as possible.  We then spent some time compiling the observations and noting questions that we had.  How do they eat? Do they lay eggs or give live birth? And many more! From there we moved on to looking at similarities and differences and students developed dichotomous keys using leaves from 10 species of Missouri trees.

Working under the pavilion

Drawing their isopods

Making leaf dichotomous keys
After a busy morning it was time to switch gears and prepare for the aquatic study on the next day. Students learned how to use the digital probes to record dissolved oxygen, water temperature and pH and also became familiar with using the chemical test kits for phosphates and nitrates. The day ended with students participating in simulations that presented a water quality issue.  Their goal was to determine what the cause of the issue was using the information that was given them.

Practicing using the test kits

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