Brandon Gillette’s seventh grade life science classes’ work in collecting data about Brush Creek will now be made available to the Missouri Department of Conservation. This summer, Brandon became a certified water quality volunteer with the department. Data he and his students collect can be submitted and used by the department for its ongoing conservation efforts. “The students’ work will now be contributing to the state database,” Brandon said.
Brandon plans for the students to test the water twice a year: once in the fall and once in the spring. By doing this, they can track how the water is being affected at different times of the year.
Additionally, Brandon applied for and received a Water Quality Small Grant through the Kansas City, Mo. Water Department to pay for testing equipment as well as educational instructors. These tools will help students garner a better understanding of the biological indicators of the water, pollutants that affect its quality, where it travels and how its treated.
For several years, Brandon has been incorporating an Earth systems approach into his life sciences classes, which helps students understand that all the different parts of the planet are interconnected.
“Instead of looking just at Brush Creek from a physical perspective, we are looking at how it interacts with its surroundings,” he explained.
In his classes, Brandon challenges students to investigate solutions to problems. “We know water is polluted. But what are we doing about it? It’s amazing how much we don’t know about our own area, how we affect it and how it affects us. Through this experience, the students are learning more about where they live and gaining a better understanding of our community.”