NFCC and Jefferson County 4-H led a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Forum for Jefferson Elementary School 5th graders on March 22. The date was significant since it was the first calendar day for the world-wide recording day for the World Water Monitoring Challenge, a challenge program that tests water from around the world for turbidity (cloudiness), pH (acidity), dissolved oxygen, and temperature.
Jefferson Elementary 5th graders teamed up with NFCC students from the college’s Save Our Animal Resources (S.O.A.R.) ecology club and Man and the Environment class to learn about the environment and our effect on the environment, especially water quality. NFCC students used teaching materials related to the Sunshine State Standards and benchmarks. The students and teachers then moved outside to test samples of Jefferson County water collected by John Lilly, Jefferson County Extension Director. The students conducted water tests, collected data and made conclusions on what they recorded. They found that the tested water was healthy for fish and aquatic insects. Results were posted on the World Water Monitoring Challenge web site.
“Our students came away with a sense of accomplishment of helping these children and making a difference,” said Bonnie Littlefield, NFCC science instructor and event coordinator. “One of our students said that it was exciting to see the children’s faces light up when they learned one of the concepts and were able to answer the questions."
NFCC students were able to work with three separate 5th grade classes at Jefferson Elementary School. The event was a joint collaboration between Jefferson Elementary, NFCC and the Jefferson County Extension Office.
“The 5th grade students enjoyed the activity so much that we want to do it again each year,” said Jefferson Elementary teacher Nancy Whitty. “The three classes enjoyed making big "Thank You" cards to show their appreciation for spending the day with them."