Students from two live classrooms at Hixson High School and CSAS designed, tested and will launch long-term water monitoring systems using the Arduino platform to collect and transmit live data to share. These systems will monitor water quality at multiple sites along the North Chickamauga Creek watershed. Students met via live video calls and kept a journal to document the class work, field work (testing weekly the pH and the temperature of the creek), designing of the buoy, programming and research (water and air quality in Chattanooga). Hixson students designed a buoy to hold the water monitoring system and field tested it four times. Each time the students were able to fix and improve their design. Each step was shared through Twitter and documented on the Wiki blog. Work will continue as students work on the last stages of the system. Data will be compiled and analyzed by the students and will be presented to the Sierra Club and other local environmental organizations through a formal presentation by the students as a culminating event. The presentation will be made available to the public through YouTube and other media. Overall the project went well. Students enjoyed working with computers, programming, building, and going outside into the field. Some of the challenges we found during this project was scheduling, since our schools are on different time schedules. The classes only overlapped by 15 minutes several days a week. This obstacle could be avoided by preplanning since the class schedules are set the previous year in the spring. Computers also became a challenge because they were outdated and had difficulty running some of the programs. Students had to use their phone’s internet connection many times for Twitter and other social media as many social media channels are blocked by HCDE. The materials needed for a project would be best bought up front, and only have to purchase what is needed during the semester. This will save on time, and will help with the classroom environment as a whole. Mozilla’s support throughout the project was a positive experience. Not only did they support us with money but with personnel and connections within the gig community. We met bi-weekly with Geoff Millener and all during the project he was just an email or phone call away to help us with problems that occurred. Geoff was able to give us solutions and became an integral part of our project. Chattanooga is growing with the gig, and there are a lot of resources available if you know how to find them. There were so many firsts during this project it is hard to share all the successes and innovative experiences. The difference in the student’s lives and their perspective on learning has changed 100%. Never did the students think that they would be able to Tweet, blog or discuss via the internet what they were learning in class. Students realized this when they were able to go on a joint field trip with Dr. Schorr from UTC and his students. They were able to see firsthand the reason water quality needs to be monitored and the negative effect of the past on the North Chickamauga Creek Watershed. This information was shared out via the internet and launched the project. It all became a little more formal to the students when they were involved in a Google Hangout conference call that took place in September with members of Mozilla and other projects in Chattanooga and Kansas City. Students were able to share what they were doing within the project, and where the project was headed. It also allowed them to see how the Gig not only affects education in Chattanooga but around the country as well. Overall this project allowed for an amazing teacher-student rapport. The Wireless Earth Watchdogs at Hixson High School is not just a class, but a close network of friends and colleagues. Next semester this project will be launched again with the challenge being air quality and programming.
Week 1: August 11th-15th We started the first day of school and introduction into the project.
Week 2: August 18th-22th We started the Arduino project, twitter page, and buoy design.
Week 3: August 25th-29th We started learning how to build circuits.
Week 4: September 2nd-5th We started fixing notes in the Arduino project, and fixed buoy design.
Week 5: September 8th-12th We created more circuits and continued fixing notes.
Week 6: September 15th-19th We fixed the rest of the notes.
Week 7: September 22nd-26th We ended the Arduino circuits, and the buoy design.
Week 8: September 29th-October 3rd We started visiting the creek to see the environment that we will be studding.
Week 9: October 6th-10th FALL BREAK.
Week 10: October 13th-17th We started our data collection by testing the PH and temp. of the creek. We also stated creating the buoy.
Week 11: October 20th-24th We continued testing the PH and temp. of the creek.
Week 12: October 27th-31st We dropped the buoy in the water for the first time.
Week 13: November 3rd-7th We continued testing and collecting data, and pulled the buoy out. The buoy had leaked.
Week 14: November 10th-14th We continued testing and collecting data, and made corrections to the buoy.
Week 15: November 17th-21st We dropped the buoy in the water again, and tested/collected data.
Week 16: November 24th-28th THANKSGIVING BREAK.
Week 17: December 1st-5th We pulled the buoy out of the water, and it still leaked a little.
Week 18: December 8th-12th CHRISTMAS/WINTER BREAK!!!
CSAS was our partner organization and they contributed to this pilot by providing us information on Arduino and its components as well as the materials we needed to complete this pilot. The pilot participants consist of HHS’s Mrs. Johnston 4th block class and CSAS. They responded to the pilot as very open minded and willing to try anything to get this pilot up and running. Even though we ran into a couple f problems we were able to fix them as soon as it was possible which it was really the day after.
Resulting Lessons Learned How many significant ways Arduino can be used which turs out to be numerous. The water level of the creek can rise drastically due to some amount of rainfall. (Rain all day can result in a water level rise of 6-7 feet) PH was able to change from 7.1 to 6.8 in a month of 7 days.
People Who Took Part Males: 12 Females: 10 Grade Levels: 10th-1, 11th-5, 12th-16
Years of Age 15 year olds-1 16 year olds-5 17 year olds-8 18 year olds-8
Metrics and Outcomes
Outdated technology, which mostly included the laptops we were using with the Arduinos. Problems getting on sites because Hamilton County School Board blocked a lot of our social media sites. The materials that were needed were not able to get to us in the time frame that was necessary for us. Some of the buoy designs did not pan out very well. (Leakages, equipment was too big to fit in the buoy). Our final design for the buoy was built and put into the creek but unfortunately it leaks. Some of the sights we were going to place the buoy did not work out mainly due to the area surrounding the buoy and debris under the water. The project has been very time consuming and we don't have enough time to do everything. Hard time communicating with CSAC because of the different time schedules we have.
Students from both live classrooms designed, tested and will launch long-term water monitoring systems using the Arduino platform to collect and transmit live data to share. These systems will monitor water quality at multiple sites along the North Chickamauga Creek watershed. Students in the live classrooms met via video conferencing, through Skype and Google Hangouts. Students were able to view previously video-taped lessons by Mr. Mounger through YouTube. Hixson students set up a blog and Twitter account to continue the conversations and a Wiki page that logged weekly progress on the project. Students kept a journal to document the classwork, field work (tested weekly the pH and the temperature of the creek), designing of the buoy, programming and research (water and air quality in Chattanooga). Hixson students designed a buoy to hold the water monitoring system and field tested it 4 times. Each time the students were able to fix and improve their design. Each step was shared through Twitter and documented on the Wiki blog.
The pilot allowed the students to learn about their community and how it affects them and their families. Water quality is a huge topic of debate in the environmental science community. Students were able to study and connect to the biome that they live in. They became familiar with the challenges the biome faces, how the seasons affect the ecosystem, and how land use is a pressing issue. There was research completed throughout the semester on water and air quality in Chattanooga. Through field work, students were able to work with LabQuest and test the pH and temperature of the water. This was used to determine how things change over time and how pH and temperature of the water affect species. Digital literacy is an important topic in education. Through this project the students learned how social media can be used positively and as learning tools. All of our progress can be seen on our student-run Twitter, blog and wiki page. The students learned that working together as team is not just important in school, but is an essential part of their lives. The students were introduced to basic programming skills using the Arduino platform. The skills needed to build and complete a sketch are the basic language of programming and how to compile a sketch together. Students became aware that there are significant ways that Arduino can be used outside of testing water quality.
This project allowed two schools in the Chattanooga area to come together. CSAS is a local magnet school, and Hixson is a Title I school. The students from both schools were able to communicate and build relationships. Students communicated via remote video conferencing and through field trips. Dr. Mark Schorr from UTC shared his research on the North Chickamauga Creek Watershed, which included stream fish ecology, water pollution issues, and population/community ecology. The field trip with Dr. Schorr brought together a local college and public schools around a central issue, in some cases flipping the traditional institutional relationship.
The pictures are from Hixson High School students. We have been taking pictures of the Chickamaga Creek from the first day we started the project untill now.
Our project progress will be documented via weekly updates on our blog http://wewhixsonhigh.blogspot.com/ . You can also find us on Twitter @WEWHxHs. Our github repository is here (link if applicable).