Science class down by the river |

Science class down by the river

Teri Vance
Teri Vance/Nevada Appeal

Seventh-graders science students at Dayton Intermediate School left the confines of the classroom Friday in favor of a day at the river.

“It’s still learning, and it’s funner being outside than being in class,” said Colton Cogar, 11.

Students divided into groups to collect data as part of a larger effort, called Snapshot Day, to determine the quality of water in the Carson River.

From Hope Valley to Fallon, 10 stations tested samples to determine pH and oxygen levels, conductivity, temperature and other areas as part of the sixth annual event.

“We involve the students to give them some one-on-one time with resource professionals,” said Mary Kay Wagner, an environmental scientist with the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. “It gives them the opportunity to apply their education to the outdoors.”

In addition to testing the quality of the water, students also learned how to determine quantity through demonstrations by representatives from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Hydrologist Kip Allander explained how to gauge the area, volume and velocity of the river.

“It takes their education and puts it in a real-world setting,” he said.

Life science teacher Maureen Park, who along with fellow teacher Ann Jolly walked with groups of students from the school to the river and back, said it was a good way to answer the age-old question from students

“Why are we learning this? And they always ask it,” she said. “Gathering scientific data helps them see that.”

Anthony Hernandez, 12, prefers hands-on learning to reading from a textbook.

“I’d rather be here getting facts about the river,” he said.

Wagner said it also will make the students more environmentally conscientious.

“It offers them the education as to how to be good watershed stewards,” she said. “To protect the source of their drinking water, recreational water and the water that grows their food and crops.