Techny Prairie A Local Science Lab

Seventh Grade Exposed to Science All Around Them
Posted on 09/05/2018
Testing Water Quality

Northbrook Junior High seventh-grade students spent Friday morning, Aug. 31, in a familiar setting learning about unfamiliar things: invertebrates, pH levels in river water and Purple Loosestrife.

During Ecology Day, students visited four stations at Techny Prairie, located behind the junior high. At one station they used magnifying glasses to examine pond and river water samples, looking for invertebrates. At another station they analyzed water quality by testing for pH, chlorine, dissolved oxygen and bacterial colonies. At the conservation station they brainstormed ideas about conservation practices they could implement at school. And in the prairie, they worked in teams to clear Purple Loosestrife and Queen Ann’s Lace, both invasive species that choke out native prairie grasses and flowers.

“My favorite part was looking at the critters (in the river water),” said student Ellie Erlich.

Student Matthew Coughlin said his favorite part was helping the environment by pulling out the invasive prairie plants.

“This is the kick-off to our ecology unit,” said science teacher Amber Paull, a member of the teaching team that organizes the event. “This is their city, and to see the things we talk about in science -- water quality tests, independent and dependent variables, and seeing things move (in the pond water) – it makes good real-life connections.”

In addition to burrs, bees, and scratchy weeds, there was plenty of fun and learning for a sunny morning.

 “That’s what seventh-grade science is all about. …It helps them to see that their world is very scientific,” Mrs. Paull said.
students look for invertebrates in river water samples

Seventh-graders Brecken Carsello, Elizabeth Mateja and Sasha Aronson look for invertebrates in river water during an ecology day at Techny Prairie Aug. 31.

students clear invasive species fromTechny PrairieStudents clear invasive species such as Purple Loosestrife and Queen Ann's Lace from Techny Prairie so that native grasses and flowers can thrive.