Virtual Connections: From Microbes to Water!

image from virtual lessson

This fall we’ve had to do things a little differently, but the pandemic has not stopped kids from learning about how neat science is and how important our environment is! In September, there was a virtual guest lecture for a high school microbiology class. The class consisted of 24 students and they learned how microorganisms affect microorganisms and nutrient cycling! Megan Tomamichel led an interactive group activity using google docs to research arbuscular mycorrhiza and ectomycorrhiza. Students also watched awesome videos about zooplankton that live in water. The zoom session ended with a fun thought exercise about a Mars colony – What kind of microbes would you need to make a fully-functioning Martian ecosystem?

In October, EcoReach contributed materials to Athens Water Festival in a Box”, which took place virtually this year! EcoReach volunteers contributed to the “virtual water box” with five different activities for K-12 students, mostly geared toward elementary-middle school aged children.  The overall goal was to provide fun and interactive ways to teach students about water in a safe, but intellectual manner. EcoReach member Anna Baynes came up with the first two activities. The ‘Water Cycle in a Bag activity’ includes instructions for students to observe the entire water cycle by putting water in a plastic bag! The second activity, ‘Float or Sink’, encourages young children to make predictions and observe items that float or sink in water. Abby Ryder helped to put together clips of EcoReach members dancing the Water Cycle in order to get kids to remember the steps of the water cycle.

screenshot of water cycle lesson

Check out this snapshot from of EcoReach coordinator, Carolyn Cummins, demonstrating the beginning of the Water Cycle dance.

Max Kelly coined the third activity, ‘Athens Water Rangers,’ with instructions for students to find macroinvertebrate insects in their local streams! Coles Ehlers compiled online resources for additional water-themed activities. Coles took to the web and found several additional relevant activities for students, families, and teachers to reference.

The Virtual Water Box was emailed to 250 people! 180 of those also received a physical water box, while the additional 70 received the virtual box. The recipients of these boxes may also include families with multiple children, extending the reach of these activities!

Thank you to all the EcoReach members who helped organize and bring all these fantastic learning activities together for students in the Athens area!

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