Why we funded Ms. McCall’s project to help her students study the Colorado River

How difficult is it to learn about how water flows through a river and affects its topology?  Although it sounds like an easy body of information to understand, it isn’t. And it is most effectively learned when students have the classroom tools they need to simulate water flow and river erosion.

That explains why Ms. McCall, a high school science teacher in Arizona, posted a project on DonorsChoose and asked donors to provide funds to buy a special countertop table desktop, a distilled water making machine, a 4-liter water purifier and other equipment for her classroom.Measuring Water erosion a Study of the Colorado River - tools provided by the Student Research Foundation

“My students struggle with the concept of watersheds,” she explains. “And to be fair, it is difficult to understand how water moves when you live in a desert and only see rain a few times a year. However, this is a really big problem when we live in the Colorado River watershed which is in a major crisis right now! . . . This Watershed Lab, which requires distilled water to work (provided by the Tabletop Distiller), will help my students understand more deeply about the watershed around them. I want them to understand where their drinking water comes from, how it gets polluted, and why the reservoirs are low.”

Funding the Classroom Project and Learning More Science

The cost of Ms. McCall’s project was a relatively modest $525.16. And now, thanks to donations from the Student Research Foundation and other benefactors, the project is fully funded – and Mrs. McCall’s students are busy simulating the flow of water through the Colorado River.

Ms. McCall writes . . .

Dear Student Research Foundation,

After a nice break my students are ready for the upcoming semester and one of the first units we are studying is water where my students will be making use of the materials that I have now thanks to your kind donations. We have started to use the water distiller for watering class plans and animals though their ultimate use will be the water labs.

When the packages came in the students got really excited. I let one group of students that were terribly excited open the boxes and now they are looking forward to playing with their own personal lab set.

After the unit on water we will be moving on to air and it will connect nicely to many of the concepts they will learn along the way.

In the end I am very grateful for your assistance in helping my students learning more and more

With gratitude,
Ms. McCall

Protecting the Colorado River today and in the future

As Ms. McCall’s story proves teachers can engage students to learn science in hands-on ways which may translate into college and career pathways involved in various STEM fields including environmental studies. We are proud to have supported Ms. McCall’s project and look forward to hearing how the students continue to learn about environmental sciences.

We look forward to writing about the success of more DonorsChoose.org teacher projects here on the Student Research Foundation blog. Stay tuned!

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