Irvington Middle School sixth and eighth graders partnered with Irvington High School students to experience “A Day in the Life of the Hudson River” and collect scientific data along the river at Matthiessen Park on Oct. 14.
Assisted by the older students, the sixth graders rotated though different stations to record the water chemistry, such as its turbidity, salinity, temperature, pH and dissolved oxygen levels, as well as to make observations about the physical settings and location of the river. At the fish station, high school students used a large seining net to collect living river specimens and helped middle school students identify and observe them. At the STEM workshop, the sixth graders were challenged to design and build a bridge, using toothpicks, cups, clay and a ruler. They also participated in a theater workshop and yoga to reflect on their experience along the river.
“It was a really special day,” said sixth grade teacher and team leader Jessica Doherty, who co-facilitated the day with science teachers Amy Panitz and Karen Bodnar. “This was the first time in more than a year and a half that we’ve been able to gather as a large group and engage in a learning activity outside of the classroom.”
Throughout the day, the sixth graders collaborated with students from Bodnar’s eighth grade earth science classes and Alex Lengers’ Advanced Placement Environmental Science classes. The data that they collected will be shared with other communities along the river – from Manhattan to Troy, New York – to draw conclusions about the current state of the environment and record any changes in the health of the river.
“We want the students to really understand that this is part of our environment, and we need to take care of it,” Doherty said.