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NEWS STORIES

Students Take Science OutsideSubmitted: 10/21/2011
Story By Michael Crusan

MERRILL - For these Prairie River Middle School students, working in the water beats sitting in a desk any day.

Dountae Degner says, "My favorite part about doing this today is probably being outside of the classroom."

Science teacher Lynn Kurth is using an instrument on loan from the EPA and says this rare opportunity shows the class the fun side of science,

"Actually being able to come out here and use the same instrument, that's real world application. That's so important."

Kurth says the most exciting part for the students is stepping out of the classroom and getting outside to have some real hands on science here in the Prairie River.

Student Grace Huftel says, "I'd say it's actually just about getting out and experimenting with earth and stuff, and the water. Just going out and doing the field work of science."

Kurth says, "Making science real life for them is so essential at the middle school level."

And the class is retaining this data well says Degner, "What it does is it takes different readings of the water levels. Such as, the dissolved oxygen, pH levels, it takes the temperature and stuff like that."

But what do all these numbers mean once they're calculated?

Kurth has the answer, "Looking at the data today, the Prairie River is healthy. We're looking at the parameters of what I'd expect to see as far as the readings, pH level, dissolved oxygen for this time of year. I think we're in good shape."

Something students like Huftel already had a hunch about before testing these waters, "Yeah it's different than what I thought it would be, but not too different."

Using a rare opportunity to teach this class the exciting side of science.

Kurth says one other school in the Wausau area is also using an EPA water measuring instrument and in the coming weeks the two classes will compare results.

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