Bronxville News

Seventh Graders with meter sticks and clipboards collecting data in nature
Bronxville, NY

Equipped with various tools and measurement instruments, Bronxville seventh graders took on the role of scientists and collected data along the Bronx River at Scout Field during a recent outdoor lesson. As part of their study, they tested the phosphate levels of the soil and the water’s temperature, turbidity and pH levels. In addition, they observed the flow rate of the water and took notes on various particles they noticed in the river.

“The Bronx River experience is a unique opportunity for students to take classroom content and apply it to the rigor and rewards of real scientific research,” said science teacher Daniel Tocci, who along with fellow teachers Jennifer Zopp and Karen Green, incorporate the Bronx River as a teaching environment in their science classes.

Over the course of their studies, the students will be challenged to develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem. They will learn how changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations and predict patterns of interactions among organisms in a variety of ecosystems. They will also evaluate solutions for maintaining biodiversity and protecting ecosystem stability. 

Tocci said the outdoor classroom experience allows the students to make real-life connections between what they’re learning in the classroom and how it applies to the work they are doing by the river. 

“The accessibility of the Bronx River offers students the ability to assess the health of the river and surrounding area and develop an action plan to help preserve this important part of their community,” he said. 

The students will continue their studies of the Bronx River throughout the year as they collect and analyze data. They will develop an action plan to address an issue affecting the health of the Bronx River and present their findings before a panel of students and community members.