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Volume 8, Number 2: October 17, 2001

Waters of Wisconsin to the World: Drop of Life
Integrated Technology Education through Studies of Wisconsin Waters

by Mary Gruhl, Director, and Janie Besharse, Assistant Director
UW-Milwaukee Center for Science Education

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Hold onto your hats, canoe paddles, and Internet connections!
ITE, or Integrated Technology Experiences, is rushing down water and electronic trails to pull together real science, math, technology, history, and UW System research. This adventure will give students and teachers in grades 4-12 an opportunity to ask real life science questions, such as "How healthy is our environment?" and "What can we do to make our water clean and healthy?"
Kicking off next April 21st, 2002, with a 6-week canoe and kayak trip down some of Wisconsin's most historic waterways, volunteers from the Ellwood H. May Environmental Park in Sheboygan and the UW-Milwaukee Center for Science Education will again hook up to weather, water, and body monitoring devices that transmit data back to UW-Milwaukee for uploading to the "Waters of Wisconsin to the World: Drop of Life" Web site at http://www.dropoflife.org.
Dr. Debra Mauzy-Melitz (CSE) and Dr. Ann Snyder (UWM) load technology into canoe for a test run. This project will give schools connected to the Internet and schools along the water trails the exceptional experience of combining science and internet technologies and developing their own data banks for comparison with those of UWSA researchers and other participating schools. The Web site will focus on Wisconsin land and water practices of the past and present and possibilities for the future. Activities and information placed on the site will provide contextual meaning to curriculum taught in schools that adhere to Wisconsin's Model Academic Standards.

Dave Kuckuk, Director of the Ellwood H. May
Environmental Park, and Mary Gruhl, Director of the UWM Center for Science Education, firmly believe that science and computer technologies belong in the hands of teachers and students, from elementary school through high school.

With this in mind, technologies, which can define environmental conditions, have become the focus of the Waters project. In the involved hands of technologically confident teachers and inquiring students, technologies can extend the senses, project models, and show patterns quickly, clearly, and precisely. The evidence of the impact of environmental issues universally surrounds students, teachers, and all citizens--both urban and rural--in our daily lives: the water we drink, the soil in which we grow our crops, the plants and animals with whom we share our world, and the energy we make in our bodies or at a power plant.

Excitement and involvement in this technology-integrating multi-year study is heightened by the trips along the rivers, which end at the Milwaukee harbor and the UWM campus. (View a map.) At schools along the trails, we will meet with volunteer experts and with internet "companions" that explain past ecological and cultural practices and celebrations of Wisconsin.

Dr. Debra Mauzy-Melitz adjusts Dave Kuckuk's heart monitor.


Dave at the weather station.
We prepare teachers to use these science technologies and the resulting data banks in their own classrooms and in our teacher workshops. The modeled student-taught lessons and the teacher workshops weave together appropriate technologies and deeper content on topics ranging from insects to energy generation. Our unique location and relationship with the Letters and Science Faculty of UW-Milwaukee also provides the opportunity for "in the field" scientists to share their expertise.

In almost all of our workshops, teachers learn to use data bases, to upload their results, and to download data bases from other Web sites. They also learn specific science technologies. In various body system workshops, teachers use the sphygmomanometer, a computer-based lab with recording probes for heart rate, as well as stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, the hematocrit centrifuge, syringes, and spirometers. In the DNA workshop, teachers learn about chemicals, gel electrophysis, the clinical centrifuge, micropipettes, UV imaging, water baths, and UV spectrometers. Teachers learning about micro/macro invertebrates gain experience with both light and dissecting microscopes, time lapse microscopes, soil-testing equipment, and dissolved oxygen computer-based laboratory probes. Classes focusing on the study of water teach the use of flow meters, Hach kits, computer-based laboratory water kits, TI calculators, and Secchi disks.

Weather workshops involve learning to use data from the SMART weather stations, barometers, anonometers, computer-based telescopes, recording thermometers, and data collecting and analyzing programs.

We invite everyone to participate in Integrated Technology Experiences, either through our website (http://www.dropoflife.org) or by joining us for part of the trip, meeting us at schools, and attending campfire evening sessions held along the water trails. If you are interested in learning about technology-based teacher workshops, please visit our Web sites at http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/CSE and
http://www.gomaywood.org . You can call for more
information at (414) 229-2342 or e-mail CSE@uwm.edu.

Teachers preparing their technology presentation.


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Map of the 2002 water trails