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Being a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.


The Grand River is a source of drinking water, a recreational water body, and the recipient of urban and agricultural waste water. It is part of the largest watershed in southern Ontario and supports close to one million people.

The Aquatic Science Outreach Network for the Grand (AquaSONG) pilot project has been initiated by Wilfrid Laurier University and the Centre for Cold Regions and Water Science to inform and educate local high school students on the fragility of this water body, teach basic field sampling techniques, and demonstrate methods of analysis.

Each participating high school group will collect water samples near the outflow of a waste water treatment plant, observe sample analysis using cutting edge laboratory equipment, and learn about data modeling and interpretation.

Information for Teachers

The following information can be used by grade 10 and 11 high school teachers to plan for this experience.

For more information, or to participate in this project, contact Gena Braun.

Advance Preparation

Background Knowledge

The field and lab experience will involve teaching of field and laboratory methods, but a basic understanding of some concepts is recommended and will improve the student experience. Some suggested background information is as follows:

  • Chemistry/Biology: Understanding of the basic model of an atom (energy levels and transitions).
  • Current issues in water treatment and contamination.
Suggested Resources

Health, Safety, Attire and Permissions

The field experience will occur outside near a body of water. There are several inherent hazards:

  • Students will enter the water to a depth of roughly six to eight inches (15-20 cm). This presents a very low hazard under normal circumstances; however, both parents and students must be made aware.
  • Weather is unpredictable and may include rain, hot sun, or cold temperatures. Students must dress appropriately. Long pants and hats are strongly recommended. Closed toed shoes are required in the lab and strongly recommended in the field.
  • Students must also bring their own drinking water. Any field gear required for water sampling (waders, rubber boots) will be provided by Laurier.
  • Uneven ground, insects, and plants all create hazards. If there are any special needs or concerns (mobility issues, allergies), please inform the technician (Gena Braun) before the field trip so that accommodations can be made were possible.

The high school must provide an appropriate permission form to parents/guardians indicating the hazards that may be encountered on this field trip.

Student Behaviour Expectations

A positive and safe experience can only be obtained if all participants adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Follow the directions of the technician/teacher at all times.
  • Report any concerns or damage to equipment to the technician immediately.
  • Act in a safe and respectful manner. Any rowdy or inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated in the field or the lab. Any student or group of students that does not behave approprirately may not be permitted to participate in the remainder of the field trip.

Field Trip Schedule

The following schedule is provided for information purposes only and will be adjusted depending on the school schedule, group size, or any unexpected circumstances. In general this experience requires one full school day.

9 a.m. – Field sampling

  • Meet at the field site at 9 a.m. (assuming school starts around 8 a.m. and bus leaves at 8:30).
  • Field sampling for approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.
  • Travel time back to Laurier: 30 minutes.

11 a.m. – Lunch

  • At the Centre for Cold Regions and Water Science building, main foyer.

Noon – Lab, fish facility and lecture

Rotation through activities (students divided into three groups):

  1. Tour of lab, short discussion of analytical theory.
  2. Tour of the fish facilities, short explanation of current research.
  3. Short lecture on the Biotic Ligand Model and toxicity testing.

1 p.m. – Wrap up

  • Meet in the foyer, students board bus back to school.

Gena Braun, Research Instrumentation Technician; AquaSONG Coordinator

E: gbraun@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x2484


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