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STEM Teaching Tool Highlights Urban Watershed Data

September 7, 2021
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map of the Merrimack River watershed, showing forests in green and developed areas in red

Science teacher Tara Goodhue of Greater Lowell Technical School worked throughout summer 2020 with Josh Plisinski of the Thompson Lab to learn geospatial mapping techniques and analyze ecosystem services data from the public watershed that serves her school. The work was funded by a Research Experience for Teachers grant from the National Science Foundation as part of the Forest's Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program.

In collaboration with HF Schoolyard Ecology Coordinator Pamela Snow, Tara created a publicly available teaching tool for high school students that pulls together several real-world datasets into a graphing activity that guides students to explore future decision-making in the Merrimack watershed and its potential effects on drinking water.

Graduate student Amanda Suzzi of the University of Massachusetts received an LTER research award in 2021 to create supporting materials for the watershed teaching tool, focused on diverse and inclusive representation and access. Her work included the creation of an Indigenous land acknowledgement statement, a supporting resource packet for teacher use, and a companion high school lesson plan on human land-use and decision-making, adapted from a university-level lesson by HF Research Associate Meghan MacLean

  • Explore and download the high school-level Data Nugget, supporting resource packet (as a .pdf or .ppt), and land-use change lesson plan (as a .pdf or .doc).
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