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Our Wisconsin charter school uses scientific research and project-based learning as the focus of our curriculum. Project learning is based on a constructivist model of learning that engages you in real-world scholarly activity because you get to chose topics that interest you.
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Studying Lakes on Camp Phillips

Posted on November 24, 2012 by Esau Casetta

What's the Dissolved Oxygen for the surface? 6.67. Got it. Now what's the water temperature reading for the surface? 20.6 degrees Celsius. Ok, got it. If you are wondering what this means, it means that you have landed in a boat that is collecting water quality data. If you still don't quite follow what I am talking about, let me explain a little bit more. Last spring a small group of students from Wildlands went up to Camp Phillips Boy Scout Camp and collected water samples from 3 different lakes.

This project started out late last winter when the Boy Scout council leader asked Mr. Tweed if we could go up to the camp and collect water samples from three of their small lakes. Mr. Tweed agreed that we could do it. After their meeting Mr. Tweed came back to school and started to assemble a group of students that wanted to do lake water quality testing. The group members were Mr. Tweed, Mr. Fields, Clare, Brad, Ben, Jordan, and myself. Our first task was to get all of our water quality testing gear ready to go. Then for the members that did not know much about GPS, GIS, and Arc Map they had to go through the tutorials that would teach them everything that they need to know about these programs, because we were also making a lake map on one of the lakes.

When it came to the day that we would go up to the camp and gather the samples, the group was very excited. For most of them this would be their first time ever doing something like this. This was the first time that we would go out on these lakes. We all met at school that morning and got out all of the gear and we divided it into the different cars. Once that was done, we had one last group meeting then we all headed for Camp Phillips. After a minor pit stop in Rice Lake for gas we were back under way.

Once we arrived at Camp Phillips the Camp caretaker showed us where Mr. Tweed and I could launch our boats. After we got the boats in the water we loaded each boat with our gear. After lunch we split into 2 groups and started working. One group was Mr. Tweed and in the other was Mr. Fields and I. Mr. Tweed did the lake mapping and Mr. Fields and I did the water quality sampling. Once all of our samples were gathered we headed for school where we would do water quality testing. We tested for pH, nitrates, phosphoresce and chlorophyll. After we got our results we put them into an Excel spreadsheet.

Later this year after the ice comes in I will make up a slide show presentation and present our finding to the Boy Scout Council, but till then this project will be continued. We will keep going up there ever 2 weeks and get samples from the three lakes, and we will continue to work on the lake map of Lake Mitchell and put it into our power point.Esau and Ben on Lake Phillips

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In the winter of 2011, Wildlands Charter School students began producing news stories for our website and an electronic email newsletter.

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