Students study water quality aboard GVSU research vessel

The W.G. Jackson
The W.G. Jackson

Six classes of eighth-graders from Whitehall will spend time this week studying water quality on board the W.G. Jackson, a research vessel owned by Grand Valley State University’s Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI), and a water festival will be held for Montague-area third-graders on the morning of October 2. 

The trips on the research vessel and the water festival were made possible by a grant from the Alcoa Foundation to AWRI to support students in learning about sustainability and their local water resources. Alcoa volunteers and Montague High School students will help with the water festival.

The experience on the vessel provides hands-on experience and brings the excitement of scientific research to the students. The vessel has an onboard laboratory where students analyze water samples from various sites to learn about what factors contribute to water quality. Students will be introduced to the Great Lakes Literacy Principles, and the positive actions they can take to be stewards of the environment.  

The middle school students also will have an interactive classroom experience in the Annis Educational Foundation Classroom at AWRI. Topics including lake stratification, the work of AWRI scientists, and the White Lake Area of Concern will be presented. A pre- and a post-test will measure the impact on student learning and attitudes about science careers. 

The grant will provide a science experience to more than 500 third-grade, eighth-grade, and high school students from the White Lake area, along with a workshop for teachers.