Science classes incorporate hands-on learning at Truckee River

Delaney Sullivan, Staff Reporter

Although it can be difficult to do off campus activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, science classes have been getting creative. AP Environmental Science as well as Earth Science classes have been taking trips down to the Truckee River during class to conduct labs. 

“The trip we went on last week was to observe the river structures and how the moving water affects it,” Earth Science teacher Micheal Edwards said. “The value of it is to learn what we usually do in the classroom, but in the real setting.”

Students are able to hypothesize in the classroom, then experiment and get results at the river.  The data they collect is used for various assignments and projects in the classroom. 

“I love every part about the river, except for seeing how much pollution is near or heading towards the river,” Edwards said. 

AP Environmental Science teacher Scott Jordan also thinks that learning at the river teaches students in a hands-on way and is good for the students. 

“I take my AP Environmental classes outside for investigations since it is not very engaging to study the environment from inside,” Jordan said.  “It is how we apply the concepts that we learn about in class.”

The Truckee River is close and accessible, making it easier to conduct these experiments.

“I like that we have walking distance to the Truckee River and Idlewild park, however our class periods are often not long enough for full experiments,” Jordan said.

Since most learning takes place inside, students appreciate a change of scenery. 

 “It was nice being able to leave the classroom” senior AP Environmental Science student Samantha Mellison said. 

Students are being taught about river-based ecosystems in class, so going to the river ties in with their curriculum and allows them to see their research in action. 

“We are learning and observing the effects that different water qualities have on the environment,”Mellison said. 

Earth Science and AP Environmental Science classes have crossed curriculums, which is why they are covering the same topics and taking trips to the river at the same time. Even with COVID-19 limitations, these teachers have found a safe way to get their students to learn outside and have fun while doing it.