Adding a New Building

Crowd the Tap considers how the entire delivery system from water supply to tap might affect water quality. The building in which the tap is located is a key element in that system. This post describes the information that students collect about individual buildings.

In public water systems, the building and the pipes that connect it to the public water system are privately owned and maintained, while the water pipes the bring water through the community to the building are owned and maintained by the public system. That is the situation illustrated at the top of this post. Even though this separation of ownership and maintenance responsibility does not exist in most private water systems (such as a house with its own well), it is still often true that the materials and age of the pipes are different inside and outside the building.

This difference between the water system inside a building and the system that feeds the water to the building is why CTTM pays attention to the plumbing inside each building. The design, composition, and condition of the plumbing in the building is an important part of the evidence.

The Building ID

In the post on “How the CTTM Data Are Organized” we explain how and why the Building and Tap data tie all of the water quality observations together. (if you have not looked at this post, do so now. It will help you understand what comes next.) We also explain that observations about water chemistry, quality, or total dissolved solids MUST include a Building ID to link the observations to the building. So, the Building ID is a really important identifier. If it is entered incorrectly on an observation, that observation will not get connected back to the building.

Here are three things each CTTM teacher should follow in setting up the Building IDs for a class:

  1. The teacher (not the students) should design and assign the Building IDs.
  2. No two buildings should have the same ID for any teacher — across all classes and all years. (It is OK if different teachers happen to use the same ID for different buildings.)
  3. The Building ID must NOT include the building address or other identifying information. (The one exception to this might be if the building is your school.)

It would also be a good idea to avoid Building IDs that are very long or complicated since students will have to key them in several times.

Examples of Building IDs

A Building ID could be as simple as a number that a teacher assigns sequentially to every building as students participate in the program across different classes and school years. So … 1, 2, 3, and so on.

Alternatively, it might be useful to develop a coding system so that you can connect the Building ID to a particular school year and class section. So, someone engaging students in two physical science classes and one chemistry class during the 2020 school year might assign Building IDs using the following scheme, where # stands for a number that is assigned sequentially as new buildings are added.

  • 20-PS1-B# for buildings introduced by students in the first physical science class
  • 20-PS2-B# for buildings introduced by students in the second class
  • 20-Chem-B# for buildings introduced by students in the chemistry class

We use the word “introduced” because it would be ideal to reuse the same ID for a building if it turns up again in another class in another year. For if a sibling of a 2020 student turns up in 2023 and once again collects data from the family home, it would be desirable to reuse the same 2020 Building ID to make it easy to track changes over time.

Keeping Track of the Building IDs

When you first start assigning Building IDs you should use a spreadsheet — or perhaps just a page in a notebook — to keep track of which IDs were assigned to which building. But, as soon as you or your students enter the building data into the CTTM project on Anecdata, you will be able to use the online database to keep track of Building IDs

Entering a Building Record in Anecdata (which you or a student will create by entering observations from a Building Datasheet), the online database will have a record of the actual address of the building that has a particular Building ID. The Schoodic Institute staff will be able to provide you with a list of all the Building IDs for your classes along with the address associated with each ID.

Note that the building address information is confidential, which means that you should not share the list of Building IDs and addresses.

Collecting and Entering Building Information

Once you have provided students with the Building IDs for the buildings they will investigate, they can begin collecting information about the building. They will need two documents to do this:

We have also created a set of “General Instructions” for each student that provides them with a place to write own their personal Observer ID, the Building IDs for the buildings they are working with, and any Additional Tap IDs associated with each building. We suggest that each student fill out and keep one of these sheets in their notebook.

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