Carson City schools’ students partner for science

Grace, Pioneer High School student, prepares Seeliger Elementary students in the classroom for field experiments.

Grace, Pioneer High School student, prepares Seeliger Elementary students in the classroom for field experiments.

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American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn wrote, “My mentor said, ‘Let’s go do it,’ not ‘You go do it.’ How powerful when someone says, ‘Let’s!’”

The power of “Let’s” is evident in the partnership between Pioneer High School and Al Seeliger Elementary School. Over the past summer, Phyllis Atkinson (leadership teacher) and Toni Nielsen (fourth grade teacher) met and planned activities that would partner PHS leadership students with Seeliger fourth graders.

It was decided that PHS students would mentor the younger students as they participated in a joint exploration of the Carson River, its wildlife, and its water quality. Thus far, it has proven to be a successful endeavor.

In the PHS classroom, leadership students learned about benthic macroinvertebrates and their adaptations. Additionally, they learned about pH and dissolved oxygen. On Sept. 10, the well-prepared mentoring students went to Seeliger and shared their knowledge with Nielsen’s fourth graders. The PHS mentors lead them through a number of activities such as making representations of oxygen in a water environment, practicing measurement of pH, dissolving oxygen in water samples, and identifying the many parts of macroinvertebrates.

This successful partnership continued at another activity on Sept. 18 at the Carson River. Representatives from River Wranglers and the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection also joined in on the experience. During their time at the Carson River, the students studied the macroinvertebrates up close and assessed the water quality of the river.

Additionally, PHS students also led the younger students in several learning activities. For the water cycle activity, students created bracelets representing all the places water travels during the cycle.

For the “Build a Watershed” activity, students had the opportunity to use a map of the Carson River and identify towns, mountain ranges, and other points of interest along the total length of the Carson River.

For the final activity, “Build a Beaver,” PHS students discussed adaptations of beavers while dressing the younger students in items that represented a particular adaptation.

The success of the partnership between PHS and Seeliger is paving the way for more mentoring opportunities in the future.


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