Two students test water.

Students test water at Chicopee Lake

Oct 16, 2019
Kathryne Davis

Students test water.

Students in Karen Henman’s PS 105 science concepts class were able to gain hands-on experience in water quality testing at Chicopee Lake in Gainesville, Georgia.

Henman, associate professor of science education and a water quality testing trainer for 15 years, takes Brenau students out to study water quality in the area. This is the second year she took her class to Chicopee Lake, where they looked at the streams that flow into the lake, but over the last decade her classes have tested water quality in Lake Lanier and at Leo’s Trove, a tract of land in Habersham County donated to Brenau by Murray and Daphne David.

The students studied stream flow, checked water for E. coli, took water temperature, sampled for macroinvertebrates, and tested for nitrates, phosphates and dissolved oxygen. After running the tests, the students compared the data and rated the quality of water in the stream. The tests they run are based on what scientists study around the country.

“I want my students to see what other scientists are doing so they get a feel for what kind of data is being looked at and to assess the quality of the environment in their area,” Henman said.

PS 105 is a comprehensive examination of the basic physical, earth and life science principles taught in the preschool through eighth grade curricula. Since Henman’s students are future teachers, the water quality testing they did can be done with upper elementary, middle school and high school students. The testing gives the younger students an opportunity to get out of the classroom and learn more about the environment around them.

“If I was going to be a teacher at a school where there was a stream nearby, this experiment would easily be adaptable,” Henman said.