Writing, Creek Ecology, and Citizen Science Come Together in Arkansas

Bobbi Grandon's first graders write about their environment.

February 24, 2016 |

Arkansas' Crooked Creek is running clear, clean, and healthy! And a team of first-grade citizen scientists has the report to prove it!

Bobbi Grandon, a first grade teacher at Bruno-Pyatt Elementary School in Everton, Arkansas, was a 2015 Grants in Place recipient. Her project, which culminated in the publication of a student book, focused on creek ecology and general principles of conservation. We are more than happy to publish the introduction to the book, compiled by students and Ms. Grandon through the language experience approach.

Creek Conservation Project

Mrs. Grandon's first grade class went to the creek to integrate first grade literacy, science, and math skills into a conservation project. We learned the importance of clean creek water through studying aquatic macro-invertebrates. Merriam Webster defines macro-invertebrates as any of various invertebrate macro-organisms (such as a crayfish or stonefly). We learned these are water bugs without backbones, big enough to see without a microscope. We studied the attributes of various water bugs that are found in our local creeks. We learned how aquatic macro-invertebrates can be found in the creek if the water quality is good or the water is clean.

We color coded sensitive macro-invertebrates as green, somewhat sensitive as yellow, and tolerant aquatic macro-invertebrates as red. By using this system, our first graders learned to sort and classify water bugs. We practiced with macro-invetebrates in our classroom. Finally, we went to Fred Berry Conservation Center. With the professional help of Marilyn Doran, Ken Forman, and Sean Sanders, we caught and classified water bugs to determine the water quality on Crooked Creek as clean.

Well, thank you Ms. Grandon's first grade class! We are happy that Arkansas' Crooked Creek is running clear and healthy! Let's all work together to keep it that way!

Ms. Grandon wanted to thank Fred Berry Conservation Center, Crooked Creek Soil and Water Conservation, Project WET, Rural Schools Collaborative, Rural Community Alliance and Ozark Mountain School District for their support of this excellent place-based education project.

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