The goals of this project are to educate high school students about waterways and water quality, demonstrate how to conduct proper scientific research, and improve participants scientific communication skills, while providing mentoring and teaching opportunities for college graduate students. Individual objectives include:
- Teach students the importance of responsible citizen science
- Familiarize students with real-world environmental problems
- Introduce high-school students to jobs within the environmental science profession
- Provide students with hands-on open-ended water quality research
- Assist the students to convey the relevance of science communication with the public
- Offer high school students the opportunity to present findings at a local symposium or conference
In the classroom
The graduate student mentors first introduce the high school students to citizen science, watersheds, water quality measures, and field testing through an in-class introduction.
This introduction includes background on watersheds, how human activity impacts water quality, and how to design a scientific research project. The students then participate in a role-playing exercise where they form teams representing environmental consulting companies evaluating potential recreation sites impacted by different pollution sources.
The high school students work with their teacher and graduate student mentors to develop collegiate level laboratory reports and analyze the data they collected in the field. Finally, students synthesize their research into a poster presentation with the help of the graduate student mentors and present these during a poster session at a scientific conference to the faculty, graduate, undergraduate students from Clemson University and to the general public.