This "Conductivity Unit" was designed by a Baltimore County high school teacher, Mr. Richard Foot, as part of his Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program with the Baltimore Ecosystem Study during the 2009-2010 school year. During this time period, Mr. Foot taught Physical Science at the Crossroads Center in the Baltimore County public school system.
The overall theme of this unit centers on familiarizing students with the importance of water in the environment. His students investigated ways in which human activities are impacting the local waterways in Baltimore. The unit uses a multi-lesson approach focusing on the study of conductivity in streams over a several month period. In December of 2009, students conducted an in-class simulation comparing conductivity of water samples from the Gwynns Falls (a stream in west Baltimore) to that of popular sports drinks. In March 2010, following the major snow storms, they re-examined the same stream to find conductivity had sharply increased to values thousands of times greater than what they had found in 2009.