We returned to the Boys and Girls Club in Gulfport, Mississippi on May 1st to workshop water quality testing with the Steps Coalition and our group of 5th and 6th grade students. We gathered at the Turkey Creek birding trail to test water samples for coliform bacteria, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, temperature change, turbidity, pH, and phosphates using the Lamotte and Earth Force low-cost water monitoring kit.
The workshop went very well and made a great activity for 5th and 6th graders with prior explanation and active facilitation. This low-cost water monitoring kit was easy to retrofit for the group with a few photocopies copies and preparations. We were able to conduct each test 3 times within one hour and traveling with the kit to the test site was quick and simple! The students were able to read the instructions (included in english and spanish) and conduct most of the testing without adult assistance, but were not fully able to interpret the data. All in all it is a great learning kit.
The Lamotte/ Earthforce kit could be improved by including resources to interpret the gathered data. The results from the water testing were very general and highly subjective. Additionally we felt that the kit could have included more information about units, a Fahrenheit-Celcius conversion equation, materials about how reagents work and how that affects the testing. The kit included all necessary components except for gloves.
Using this kit, we found that nitrates were around 5ppm, pH was about 7, phosphates were 1ppm, temperature change was around 1 degree C, and turbidity was around 10 JTU. We will have results for dissolved oxygen and coliform bacteria soon!
We are excited to see what is next for the Steps Coalition, the Forest Heights Boys and Girls Club and the greater Turkey Creek Watershed Community. Look out below in the comments to learn how to retrofit this kit for a group!