Students examined the environmental impact of nitrogen excess to develop scientifically based interventions. By exploring variables in ecosystem dynamics, students gained a better understanding of the challenges of sustainable crop production.
Students hypothesize that river health is affected by agricultural fertilizer used by nearby farming communities. Using digital sensors, students will investigate their hypothesis by measuring nitrate levels in river water samples, compare suburban and rural areas, and will analyze the data to evaluate the impact of fertilizer use on the health of the watershed. In the project’s second phase, students will design and grow a small-scale model crop system that provides a balance between maintaining yields while reducing nitrogen waste. Students will learn directly from local farmers and agricultural engineers, who will join the class to discuss trade-offs between environmental concerns and crop yield.
Download the project poster as a PDF. The project poster includes a description of the challenge, learning goals, and a list of materials and references.
Science and Engineering Products l Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions l Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information l Crosscutting Concepts l Cause and Effect l Energy and Matter l Structure and Function l Physical Science l MS-PS1 Matter and its Interactions l Life Science l MS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics l MS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity