Estuarine Research at Sturgis (Fall 2013)

Group 4 – West

By Tonja Weimar, Science and Laura Carah, Librarian – West

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Group IV Project is an interdisciplinary research project in which students from each scientific discipline work together to design and implement a group investigation of an estuarine environment. The goals are to raise student awareness  of the importance of estuaries, provide students with experience by actively participating in true collaborative science research, and to utilize previous skills learned in classrooms and on science field trips.This year, Sturgis West Science students culminated their Group 4 Project at the end of a busy October day at Town Neck Beach in Sandwich, MA. There, they performed a three step scientific process requiring strong student collaboration and cooperation in developing an experiment. The process required analysis and continued inquiry as students observed and tested their findings, and finally, considerable communication between five group members who evaluated the resulting data from their OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAexperiments. Early in the process, seniors were partnered in interdisciplinary science teams with the quest of developing a chosen research question and an investigation of high group interest. Student representatives from the  four sciences: biology, chemistry, physics and environmental studies were charged with developing an investigation requiring knowledge from all four science areas and later, to perform the experiment during their senior field trip to Town Neck Beach.The investigations completed at the seashore by the Sturgis scientists were well-documented in field notes and photos throughout the mild day in mid-October in preparation for the unique presentation mode they used to share conclusions.  Each group was responsible for creating oral and visual  presentations of their findings, using graphs and photos of the experiments, and present their findings to a wide Crabsvariety of students and teachers, some of whom were evaluating their effectiveness  using the IB Group 4 Project Rubric. The  presentations were well thought out and well-rehearsed, enjoyed by students and faculty alike during the three day presentation period at the end of the month. Enthusiasm was high from both presenters and their audience and team members vied for opportunities to share their knowledge! This was an excellent way to involve all members of the investigation who continually had opportunities to learn from the many presentations they made to interested students and staff. Congratulations go to the Science teachers and the students who worked so hard to bring these presentations to the student body.  A big thank you to SPA, the Sturgis Parents Association, who thoughtfully  funded a large part of this important project!

Group 4 – East

By Steve Carah, Lead Science Teacher – East

VGEastOn Tuesday, October 15th, 25 groups of four or five students walked to the Hyannis Recreation Center to give their research presentations, culminating three weeks of work on the IB Group 4 collaboration laboratory.  All students in IB science (Group 4 on the IB Hexagon) are required to participate in an interdisciplinary research project with the emphasis being on collaboration. Students from Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Science formed mixed groups that researched and proposed experiments during a designated morning on the second of October.  These proposals followed an hour presentation by the science faculty on the objectives of the research and general topics that might be addressed by their research.  The students after the presentation were given approximately 2 hours to come up with a research question, a design for implementing the research, and a list of needed equipment. The research was carried out a Town Neck Beach in Sandwich on October 8.  The five science staff members all agreed that the entire process was a success and that the quality of the presentations were in general very good.  Students worked well in their collaboration to develop, execute and present their research projects.

The following  PowerPoint presentations are a sample of the research of our students. We hope these presentations will provide some insight into the nature of Group 4 Projects.

Group A - SalinityA Group 4 Presentation  How does the salinity affect the plants and grasses that live in an area?  By Austin Taubert, Brittany Gayton, Matt Delvecchio, Sara Prygocki

B Group 4 Presentation   How are fowling organisms affected by tidal action?

By Owen Bescherer, Hannah Taylor, Sam Most, Teresa Willander, Kylie Michaels

C Group Four Presentation  Asian Shore Crab and European Green Crab Habitat

By Amy Darbyshire, Conor Clifford, Quinn Coughlin, Stephanos Mitrokostas, Augusta Davis

D Group 4 presentation To what extent do different kinds of human impact effect the quality of water in the estuary with reference to salinity, pH and dissolved oxygen? 

By Greg Watts, Cadance Simmons, Alex Smith and Amelia Buckner



By Pete Sampou, Sturgis East

The NOAA funded BWET science program saw seniors finish their 4th year of field work at the Sandwich Boardwalk with student directed research collected on a beautiful fall day. Teams of students then presented to each other and Sturgis science faculty their findings and analysis. Highlights were a good understanding of erosional processes and loss of coastal land that is beginning to threaten existing waterfront houses in Sandwich. Another project worked on quantifying the energy associated with wave action at different environments in and around the beach and boardwalk.

East7326Sturgis East’s science expanded into new territory on another memorable fall day! The evolution of Sturgis East’s BWET program gained 3 years of government funding (NOAA- BWET with the good graces of Representative Keating) to move to Waquoit Bay in East Falmouth which has been a focus for estuarine research for decades. The Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (WBNERR) is collaborating with Sturgis students to foster the understanding and interplay of science, and society in coastal environments.  Sophomores were the first class to travel to WBNERR where they got an introduction to this watershed and began their multi-year examination of the different environments (both natural and highly human impacted) with a day of water chemistry and beach front physics.  Science at Sturgis East is excited to begin this new chapter in our growth to better educate our youth in environmental responsibility.  As citizens of the 21st century, we (students especially) must adopt an increasingly sustainable lifestyle that meshes with the existing resource here on Cape Cod.

Mass Audubon Field TripMass Audubon Field Trip

By Tonja Weimer, Science – West

In partnership with the Mass Audubon, on September 11 and 12th the sophomores at West took a field trip to Barnstable Great Marsh. Audubon sets up 8 transects and each year students will go and identify and quantify the plants growing at set points along the transect. In addition they measure salinity at certain locations. The goal is to learn and follow standard protocol set up by the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, set up a database with the plant species of the marsh which will be shared with Mass Audubon and APCC, and to develop basic research methods and field technique to be later translated to the IB Group IV Project.

Sturgis West Collaboration with Audubon Society on Ecosystem Project

By Gina Kelly, Lead Science Teacher – West
Exciting News! Our collaboration with the Audubon Society on the Ecosystem Project has been chosen as one of the projects to be presented at The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference which is being held in Boston this year- see copied text from NSTA website below:

How Did a New High School and a Young Wildlife Sanctuary Collaborate to Foster New Citizen Scientists?

Sunday, April 6 11:00 AM–12:00 PM, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center

Together, a new charter high school and a young wildlife sanctuary created a three-part experimental science program involving three different ecosystems, data collection, and hopefully some future scientists!

Presenter(s): Deirdre A. Detjens (Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary: Cummaquid, MA); Jodie L. Montoya (Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary: Cummaquid, MA); Gina Kelly (Sturgis West Charter School: Hyannis, MA)

The success of the project thus far is due to all of our efforts and those of our students so give yourselves a nice pat on the back and congratulate your students!!

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