Since 2004, several times a year fifth grade students (approximately 20) conduct biological and chemical stream studies in Snowy Creek. Previously at Crellin School, they have learned about the benthic macro-invertebrates that live in the stream and the food web that include these organisms. They have conducted multiple biological stream studies to find and identify these benthic macro-invertebrates in order to determine stream health. In fifth grade students learn to conduct chemical tests (pH, dissolved oxygen, ammonia ) in the stream water and use that information to analyze the health of the stream. By conducting these investigations several times throughout the year, students are able to analyze additional factors that impact their findings (see photos below).
Since 2011, fifth grade students have studied alternative energy resources including solar. In 2014, the fifth grade students have used their knowledge to build a solar panel that powers an automatic chicken door and light in the henhouse (see photos below).
For the past eight years, with the help of learning partners, fifth grade students (approximately 20) participate in the Cornell University Feeder Watch Program. They learn to identify various species of birds and have set up a sanctuary outside their classroom door. They observe and identify the species that visit the feeders and input their findings on the program website. As an extension, students learn to band birds. They identify, weigh, and measure the size of each bird caught in the banding nets and examine physical characteristics of each bird. Each student conducts a bird research study and presents this information to peers and community members (see photos below).