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Mitchell Road Investigation

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Keywords: Technology, Lab, Hands on, Impact, Ecology
Subject(s): Service Learning, Photography, Biology, Writing, Life Science, Geography, Technology, Science, Math
Grade 7
School: Mesa Middle School, Castle Rock, CO
Planned By: Rob Funk
Original Author: Rob Funk, Castle Rock
I have 2 -3 major Problem Based Learning scenarios that I refine and tweak each year. The first PBL for the year centers around the unfinished street in front of the school. The students are read a mock letter from the Colorado Department of Transportation. Luckily I am friends with the lead field biologist Chuck Attardo, for CDOT and he has been fantastic at suppling us with field data reports to show students the level of detail necessary in the real world. His examples include local and state wide highway development and the ecological impact on living organisms. Students use an array of technology such as hand held GPS units that integrate with Google Earth, Weather Anemometers, Water Chemistry kits, iPods, a digital camera, document cameras, and laptop computers to mimic the data collection process that Chuck implements on a daily basis. Our Field work then leads us back to the classroom for more data analysis of plant and animal diversity and density. Students chart the results on the Smartboard and spreadsheets to help them organize their information for analysis and ultimately their final recommendations for Chuck at CDOT. They use Pages for their final lab report and submit them electronically to my computer so that I can forward the results to Chuck.
*Pick your materials: (Select all that apply by holding the Ctrl button while making selections)
I could not get this operation to work on my Mac, so I listed in the table above.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Language Arts persuasive writing, and Math data analysis.
Visit from Chuck (CDOT lead field biologist)
Materials: Digital SLR, Tripods
Other Items: 2 Short Throw Projectors
8 Digital SLR
4 Wacom Tablets and or Wiimotes
8 Microscopes w/ 4 objective lenses
8 Digital Voice recorders (iPods w/ Microphones)
8 Camera bags
8 Tripods
8 Memory Cards
8 Plantronics mic/head sets
1 Mobile Lab