Changing Hudson Project

The Changing Hudson Project curriculum was developed by scientists and educators at Cary to help students understand how the Hudson River changes over time. By collaborating with teachers, scientists, and management agencies, the curriculum has grown to include a wide range of topics that engage students with visualizations, readings, investigations, and actual scientific data.

Oxygen: Water Chestnut & DO Dynamics - Change across space and through time

Objectives

Students will know how a water chestnut bed impacts dissolved oxygen levels across space and through time and will be able to use graphs to explain these changes.

Lesson Overview
  1. Students predict changes in dissolved oxygen during the year
  2. Students use scientific data to answer questions about water chestnut
Time: 
One 45-minute period
Setting: 
Classroom
Materials
  • copies of “Water Chestnut Beds & Dissolved Oxygen” worksheet—color copies are necessary unless you can project color images of the graphs while students are working

Procedure

Engage:

Ask: how water chestnut affect the Hudson River? If you have completed other activities investigating this question, you can use this as a formative assessment of student learning.  Have a volunteer come up to the board and draw the changes in dissolved oxygen in a water chestnut bed over 24 hours. 

NOTE: If you did not complete a previous lesson related to water chestnut, use the “Water Chestnut Intro PowerPoint” to introduce students to water chestnut and what it looks like in the Hudson River. Use the last slide to introduce the idea of DO changing through time—specifically, over the course of a day.

 

Explore:  

Students complete the worksheet, answering questions to understand how water chestnut plants change the dissolved oxygen levels spatially across the plant bed and temporally through the growing season. 

 

Explain:

As water chestnut leaf out in late spring, they grow underwater, releasing oxygen into the water column.  However, by mid-summer, water chestnuts have leafed out completely, forming a dense bed of floating vegetation through which little sunlight can penetrate. The oxygen that these plants release mainly goes up into the atmosphere, instead of into the water.

            Students may need some help interpreting the graphs.  The first graph pair shows two years of data; the blue and red lines show data from 2005 and 2006, respectively. Dotted lines show data taken from the channel, and solid lines show data taken from the Trapa natans  (water chestnut)bed. The students should be able to understand that the DO is much lower within the water chestnut bed once the plants leaf out.  As the summer progresses, it is very obvious that the dissolved oxygen levels within the beds drop dramatically, even though the channel itself never becomes hypoxic.

            The photos of the water chestnut bed with the accompanying graph, depicting DO measurements across the bed, from the shore to the main channel, should help solidify students’ understanding of the way the plants affect DO levels.

 

Extend:

You can either have students do this brief activity individually or project the graphs on screen to begin a class discussion.

  • Use the HR-ECOS website http://bit.ly/11isDqk (www.hrecos.org; then click “Current Conditions”) to compare DO in two sites: one which has a monitoring station highly influenced by water chestnut—Tivoli Bays (hydro) and one which has a monitoring station with little influence from the water chestnut—Norrie Point.  While Norrie Point has water chestnut beds nearby, the monitoring station is further into the channel, so the effects of the DO changes are not seen.  Students can compare this with the trends they see in Figure 2 on the worksheet and in graphs from previous lessons, where the channel DO is higher and more stable than it is within the Trapa beds. 
  • Choose your sites 1 and 2, and choose ‘Dissolved Oxygen’ for the parameter for each. To see the greatest differences, choose a 3 month window that includes late summer or early fall, such as 2012/06/01 – 2012/09/01.  Then select “Plot 1-2.”  If students have questions about the variability in the data observed from the Tivoli Bays site (DO exchange in tidal cycles), they can complete the “How does water chestnut impact the Hudson River” lesson.

 

Evaluate:

Assess student understanding by their answers to questions on the worksheet and the depth of discussion during the Extend activity.

 

 

Lesson Resources
NYS Standards
MST 1 - Mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design
MST 3- Mathematics in real-world settings
MST 4- Physical setting, living environment and nature of science
MST 6- Interconnectedness of mathematics, science, and technology (modeling, systems, scale, change, equilibrium, optimization)
MST 7- Problem solving using mathematics, science, and technology (working effectively, process and analyze information, presenting results)
Benchmarks for Science Literacy
1B Scientific Inquiry
2A Patterns and Relationships
2B Mathematics, Science and Technology
2C Mathematical Inquiry
4G Forces of Nature
5E Flow of Matter and Energy

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