Crowd the Tap in Maine (CTTM) investigates drinking water quality in Maine by collecting water samples from many homes and other buildings and then looking for patterns in how water quality changes from place to place.
In a previous post, we used CTTM data that Old Town High School students collected to map the iron levels in water systems around their community. If we ask students, “Do you think we are more likely to find higher levels of iron in well water or municipal water?” a typical answer might be something like, “Well, I think we’ll find more iron in municipal water.” Or well water. It could go either way. It is not the choice between well water or municipal water that is important; what is important are the things missing in their response.
Old Town High School students returned to entering the tap water data they collected this fall after the holiday break. Early last week, we pulled the data into Tuva for analysis and saw that the students are building a rich picture of tap water quality around Old Town. These data are available to all Crowd the Tap Maine (CTTM) teachers. This post is the first of a series that describes how teachers can use these data, along with data that their own classes collect, to help students gain familiarity with some of the big ideas at the center of data literacy.
Before the holidays, students working with Ed Lindsey and Chuck Neeley at Old Town High School collected water samples from taps in about 30 buildings around Old Town, Maine. They entered data about water chemistry, total dissolved solids, and visible evidence of water quality issues into the Anecdata repository. This post provides a peek at what they might find in when they look at the data in Tuva.
The beauty of Crowd The Tap is its flexibility in the classroom. It can be embedded in curricula in any number of ways – lightly as a unit launch to deeply as a fully-developed project-based learning (PBL) sequence. In this post I describe how I am using it to engage students in an alternative pathways program in a rural high school.
Every student participating in CTTM needs an “Observer ID.” The Observer ID keeps students’ identities private while still allowing teachers to connect students with their work. This post describes how to create Observer IDs.
Students have the option of comparing the quality of water from more than one tap in a building. This might be especially interesting if some taps are filtered and others are not. This post shows how to add a tap.
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.
Students need written permission from parents, guardians and other adults to collect water samples from homes and other privately owned buildings. This post includes a link to the permission form that students should use. It also explains why it is important to get permission and communicate the goals of the project before collecting samples.
Students collect CTTM data about buildings, taps, water chemistry and water quality using paper worksheets. They use different dataheets for different kinds of data. This post explains how the different datasheets relate to each other and will help teachers in organizing and overseeing the students’ work as they enter data.
Maine is a rural state. Rather than having a few big city water systems, Mainers get their water from many small and mid-sized public systems in addition to private wells. In this post we provide information about the different kinds of public water systems that students will need as they map drinking water quality.
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