Future Science Teachers Guide City Students in Conducting Water Quality Study at Summer Science Camp

2013 Get Real! Science CampGraduate students who are studying to become science teachers at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education will lead the 2014 Get Real! Science Camp. The program, which runs July 28 through August 4, will provide 30 local middle school students with the opportunity to conduct a water quality study incorporating Lake Ontario and the Genesee River as well as engage in real scientific questions about water quality and usage and what makes water clean.
The camp will support these soon-to-be science teachers in thinking outside the box when it comes to teaching science. It helps them to move away from presenting a bunch of facts to a more authentic, inquiry-based approach that makes learning science exciting and meaningful for everyone. These master’s students will guide middle schoolers from Rochester’s NEAD Freedom School, a literacy school offering summer classes to children in distressed neighborhoods, in acting, thinking, and working like real scientists on a relevant problem in their own community. Students will also learn what can be done to make local water healthy and clean.
“Our goal is to help campers understand what science is and gain a better understanding of the powerful role it plays in our daily lives,” says Camp Director Michael Occhino, who also directs the science outreach division at Warner. “Science is not something they just do in school—it has real community implications. By studying water quality locally, science now has meaning and relevance to them and their community.”
2013 Get Real! Science CampWith support from these soon-to-be science teachers, the students will engage in a water quality study, where they will spend two days wading in the lake to collect water samples and will then perform several tests in laboratories on the University of Rochester’s River Campus to determine water quality variables, like pH balance, dissolved oxygen levels, bacteria and algae, temperature, and turbidity. Students will then present findings from their water quality study to the community and provide real scientific answers and clarity to water quality and usage and what makes clean water on the camp’s last day, Monday, August 4, from 1 to 2 p.m., at the Freedom School on 630 N. Goodman Street. (The event is free and open to the public.)
The value of inquiry-based science education—or doing science to learn science—is affirmed as a solid method of teaching and learning throughout summer camp and the remainder of the 15-month science teacher preparation program, known as the Get Real! Science Program, which the Get Real! Science Camp is part of. The Get Real! Science Program, created a decade ago by April Luehmann, associate professor at the Warner School, is grounded in authentic experiences that include the summer Get Real! Science Camp, Science STARS (Students Tackling Authentic and Relevant Science) program, and more. Daily photographs from the Get Real! Science Camp and blog entries highlighting activities can be viewed at Get Real Science .
About the Warner School of Education
Founded in 1958, the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education offers master’s and doctoral degree programs in teaching and curriculum, school leadership, higher education, educational policy, counseling, human development, and health professions education. The Warner School of Education offers a new accelerated option for its EdD programs that allows eligible students to earn a doctorate in education in as few as three years part time while holding a professional job in the same field. The Warner School of Education is recognized both regionally and nationally for its tradition of preparing practitioners and researchers to become leaders and agents of change in schools, universities, and community agencies; generating and disseminating research; and actively participating in education reform.
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Tags: April Luehmann, Get Real! Environmental Action Camp, Get Real! Science, Michael Occhino, science, science education, student