The Pymatuning Ecology Trip is a science learning experience created through a cooperative between East Elementary, University of Pitt, and Allegheny College. Students are given amazing opportunities to learn hands on science concepts from real scientists. This year, we had six stations.
One station included a trip out onto the lake on pontoon boats. Students are instructed on how to do several water quality tests and are given the opportunity to use equipment such as a Secchi disk to measure water clarity.
Another station included using microscopes to view plankton and other microscopic critters from the lake.
The third station, a class favorite, included donning muck boots and venturing into the lake in search of macroinvertebrates. This is their first experience with this type of water quality testing that will become a staple in our Creek Connections program when we go to Riverside Park to check water quality of our local creek.
After exploring the three stations above, students were transported to the fish hatchery to explore three more stations. One station was run by a bird specialist who taught the students about the adventures and dangers of bird migration through a really fun game. Another station was run by someone from the PA Fish and Game Commission. Students were given the opportunity to explore the various levels fish dwell. By examining a tube in the building, students could see what fish were bottom dwellers, who swam in the middle and what fish swam near the top.
The last station was an exciting opportunity for students to explore underwater robots. The premise and purpose was explained to the students, and underwater robots created by students were given to the students to explore the underwater world of Pymatuning Lake.
Below is a video slideshow of the day:
Allegheny College Creek Connections Program: http://sites.allegheny.edu/creekconnections/
Pymatuning Lab of Ecology: http://www.biology.pitt.edu/facilities/pymatuning