Timberlane Sixth Graders Gain Water IQ at Watershed Institute

Dean Meissner, 11, and Jacob Rydzy, 11, use paint brushes to remove water pennies and other macroinvertebrates from a rock as they explore the biology of the Stony Brook.

Sixth graders from Timberlane Middle School recently visited The Watershed Institute for day-long science explorations that involved creative thinking and problem solving using science practices from the Next Generation Science Standards.

Each team of about 90 students – known as the Cyclones, Hurricanes and Tornados – came for one day to increase their “Water IQ” by learning about the biological and chemical aspects of the Stony Brook and other waterways.

Cassidy Hartman, 11, examines a crayfish she caught with some friends in the Stony Brook.

The students learned about abiotic and biotic factors as they caught critters and measured pH levels, turbidity, nitrate, and phosphate levels. The classes also constructed survival shelters, explored sustainability, and participated in team building exercises at the Watershed.

“Our partnership with the Watershed is invaluable,” said Timberlane Principal Nicole Gianfredi. “It is a great opportunity to have science standards come to life in a ‘real world’ context – all while having fun!”

Students toured the Watershed’s LEED-Platinum certified building, teamed up to build shelters in the woods, and engaged in observation, data collection and problem solving at the Stony Brook.

Teachers said the outings provide fodder for in class activities in science, social studies and language arts.

Timberlane’s sixth graders are one of many school groups who visit the Watershed for hands-on science lessons.

“This immersive style of teaching science is an important component of addressing the Next Generation Science Standards. Through these activities, students are invested in their environment, they are challenged and engaged and ultimately, excited to play the role of scientist,” said Jeff Hoagland, Education Director at the Watershed.

The Watershed partners with public and independent schools in New Jersey to deliver a curriculum that aligns with NGSS. Please contact Program Administrator Tammy Love at (609) 737-3735 x42 to learn how your school could join.

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