Bronxville Elementary School kindergartners through fifth-grade students have taken on the roles of scientists to study the Bronx River by collecting data at the watershed and analyzing it in their classrooms.
Throughout their research, which is part of a districtwide curriculum designed to incorporate the river into a variety of classes and disciplines, the students are gathering information to contribute to the district’s comprehensive study on the water quality of the Bronx River.
“The ultimate goal is for us to help the Bronx River become a healthy watershed that can allow for multiple organisms to live and thrive,” science teacher Karen Green said. “The biggest benefit of this project is that students understand the role that the river plays in their community, how human population affects it and what actions they can take to make a difference.”
During recent trips to Scout Field, first-graders – who are studying plant diversity and investigating how the soil affects the growth of plants – identified some of the plants and made observations about them.
“We are growing plants of the same kind in store-bought potting soil and soil from Scout Field in our classrooms,” science teacher Susan Monaco said. “The students are going to observe the plants during the school year and use their findings to draw a conclusion.”
As part of their scientific studies, fourth-graders collected water samples from the river before heading back to their classrooms to conduct experiments. They observed the microorganisms found in their water samples before evaporating the water to examine its residue. Fifth-graders’ research involves analyzing specific invasive species found in the river and tracking how they change over time.
The project has allowed students to take control of their learning, further develop their critical thinking skills and engage with the world around them, which are skills closely aligned with the dispositions of the Bronxville Promise.