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A Middle School STEM Challenge

Overview

Located south of the Assiniboine on the western edge of the city of Winnipeg, River West Park Middle school is part of the Pembina Trails School Division and serves students in kindergarten through to grade 9. River West Park’s program aims to challenge children academically, guided by Manitoba’s provincial curriculum standards. Todd Johnson is a science teacher at River West Park Middle School, and is integrating a STEM component into his grade 8 science class through a water quality engineering design challenge.

Investigation

“My students are conducting water quality project right now where they have been tasked to design a water filter. We will then compare which group’s filter does the best job at filtering out the water” explains Todd. “Before we started the project we had an in depth water quality discussion. I then took some time to show the students how the PASCO water quality sensor works. We tried a few different water samples as a class to view how the sensor reacted to different water samples. I then used the free water quality lab in SPARKvue (projected using a tablet and ScreenBeam) to discuss the specifics of how this particular water quality sensor works (i.e.: using electrical current etc..). Students proceeded on their STEM project, by planning and designing water filters from a given set of supplies. They could choose to use whatever they wanted. Supplies included cotton balls, coffee filters, paper cups, bowls, jay cloths, clothes-pins and paper, among other items. Water samples were obtained from a local pond, and made worse by adding salt and sand. We obtained a base reading for the water sample (~8350), and then each group tested their water filter to see whose filters did the best job of creating a cleaner water sample.”

Outcome

“The results were interesting, since samples after filter use were only marginally better than the original reading.” Todd and his students used these results to brainstorm on the likely reason for such outcomes. “The students discovered that salt is not filtered in this process and that it must be the salt which accounts for most of the poor water quality reading.” “Some samples actually made the reading increase. Students were again challenged to determine the possible reasons for such an outcome. They realized that some groups had used sand in their filters, and that the sand may have added other contaminants to the water.” “I would like to expand the project with further explorations,” says Todd. “Students could investigate ways to remove salt from water and could try those methods to see how that changes the reading on the sensor.” A ‘hands-on’ STEM challenge! River West Park Middle School, 30 Stack Street Winnipeg, MB

PASCO Products

  • Sparkvue Software PS-2400
  • Water Quality Sensor PS-2230

Success Stories


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    Gurpreet Sidhu | Physics Instructor | University College of North | The Pas, MB

  • Wireless Spectrometer Big Hit With Students – PASCO’s wireless spectrometer has been utilized very well by our earth science and physical science teachers. It’s an excellent piece of equipment and we have very much enjoyed its addition to enriching our classroom. It definitely brings students to a higher level of understanding wave interaction at a molecular level.

    Matt Tumbach | Secondary Instructional Technology Leader | Tommy Douglas Collegiate | Saskatoon, SK

  • Excellent Smart Cart – I thought the cart was excellent. The quick sampling rate for force will be very useful for momentum and collision labs we do. I’m recommending we include this in our order for next school year.

    Reed Jeffrey | Science Department Head | Upper Canada College | Toronto ON

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  • Datalogging Activities are Cross-Curricular

    Throughout the province of Nova Scotia, PASCO’s probeware technology has been merged with the rollout of the new P-6 curriculum. We chose a number of sensors for use with our project-based activities. Both the functionality and mobility of PASCO’s dataloggers enable students to collect authentic, real-world data, test their hypotheses and build knowledge.

    Mark Richards | Technology Integration Consultant | Annapolis Valley R.S.B. | Nova Scotia

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    Shawn McFadden | Technical Specialist | Ryerson University | Toronto, Ontario

  • During distance learning due to COVID-19 school shut down, I was given a short window to collect what I could from my classroom to teach online. The PASCO wireless sensors and Smart Carts were my top priority to collect to implement distance learning. By sharing experimental data with students via SPARKVue, the sensors were pivotal in creating an online experience that still allowed students to grow with their lab skills. It was easy to record videos of the data collection and share the data with my students. They did a phenomenal job examining and interpreting the data.


    Michelle Brosseau | Physics Teacher | Ursuline College Chatham | Chatham, Ontario

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