Royal Society Partnership Grant

 

Science Grant Photo

We are carrying out a project with the University of Surrey to look at the quality of our local river. This webpage gives you some information about the project and will be updated as the project progresses.

Background

Good quality urban blue-green spaces are important for human health and well-being. The River Wey runs through the centre of the town of Farnham and onto Guildford. It is an important wildlife corridor and is of cultural and environmental importance, used by many people including our school children and their families. However, the quality of river water can be impacted by the attenuation of contaminants on urban surfaces, which wash-off during precipitation events, resulting in polluted stormwater flowing into rivers. The discharges can result in degraded baseline water quality, often impacting in-stream ecosystems and the appeal of the water body as a recreational area.

Air quality is a concern in most towns, with road traffic being a significant cause of air pollution in Farnham. This may also influence the river quality. As the River Wey passes through the town close to busy roads in places, we will investigate: the quality of the River Wey in Farnham; variations in water quality spatially and temporally; discuss what factors cause pollution and what measures may reduce pollution. Children from Potters Gate School will be responsible for monitoring simple non-microbiological parameters - temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and nitrates.

Students will also collect samples at various points along the River Wey to take back to school to look under a microscope for fauna and flora. We will discuss any differences in sample points and indicators of pollution. Data will be analysed and by the students.

What are the intended learning outcomes of the project?

  1. To understand how to design a scientific investigation, including developing a hypothesis, aims and objectives,

identifying suitable sampling sites, design a strategy including controls, importance of sampling frequencies.

  1. To be able to use simple, scientific equipment to collect data. Students will use simple water quality monitoring instruments, sampling equipment and microscopes. They will practice using the equipment at the school before going into the field.
  2. To record, analyse and interpret data. The students will use the equipment in the field to collect and record data and then undertake simple analysis of the data. We will discuss the importance of identifying factors which may influence the results.
  3. To understand that utilising the same method to take samples at different times of the year or in different locations or from different sources may produce different results (fair tests). Temporal and spatial patterns of water quality will be identified and discussed. (Children from key stage 1 will conduct simplified measurements on the school pond).
  4. To be aware of some examples of indicators of pollution.
  5. To find ways to manage and present data in a clear and concise way that is easily understandable by their peers. Students will explore the data using Excel, simple line and bar graphs.
  6. To make conclusions about the quality of the River Wey and the environment in Farnham within the caveats of the sampling programme undertaken.
  7. To be able to present the findings of the scientific investigation to the school community (peers, teachers, school governors, parents) and STEM partner.
  8. To understand what factors may be causing our environment to be polluted and what remedial measures could be undertaken.
  9. To increase knowledge about following STEM activities throughout their education.