Elwha ecosystem classroom project gets state grant

Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — A class of young scientists who will gather data while two dams on the Elwha River are removed has received a $10,000 state grant.

The state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction announced the winners of this year’s Qwest Teachers & Technology grants Tuesday. Nine received grants statewide.

Brenda Manson’s class at Stevens Middle School in the Port Angeles School District was the only North Olympic Peninsula class to receive money.

Her 31 eighth-grade students will take field trips to the Elwha River this fall, taking new probeware devices to collect ecosystem data as the 108-foot Elwha Dam and the 210-foot Glines Canyon Dam are torn down beginning in September.

The dams are coming down to restore salmon habitat in the largest project of its kind in the nation’s history.

When students return to the classroom, they will design their own science experiments and ultimately build presentations for classmates and students at Peninsula College, the Qwest Foundation said.

As students download the field data, they will enter the information into spreadsheets and analyze results.

Manson will use video-conferencing to connect her students with experts at the Olympic Park Institute and the University of Washington.

New interactive software will make it possible to participate in digital simulations that depict what happens to the environment when engineers remove a dam.

Other grant recipients were Daybreak Schools in Battle Ground — which received two grants for two separate classrooms — Evergreen Elementary in Shelton, Birchwood Elementary in Bellingham, Showalter Middle School and Foster High School in Tukwila, Aviation High School in Highline and Oroville High School in Oroville.

The grants fund classroom projects ranging from sharing oral reading presentations with pen pals in Britain and Bahrain to creating multimedia documentaries on the history of agriculture in North Central Washington to building language proficiency by creating audio and video podcasts.

Since 2007, the Qwest Foundation has funded grants for 76 Washington state educators who use digital technologies to improve their instructional practice and to engage and motivate young learners.

Representatives from OSPI, the Governor’s Office and the Qwest Foundation joined educators from around the state to select the winning projects.

Last modified: March 29. 2011 10:13PM
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