Moab students learn about smallest creatures at Arches National Park
Oct 05, 2017 | 643 views | 0 0 comments | 114 114 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Genna Duniway, a sixth grader from the Moab Charter School, examines the microorganisms that live in desert potholes during her recent Canyon Country Outdoor Education field trip. 	 Courtesy photo
Genna Duniway, a sixth grader from the Moab Charter School, examines the microorganisms that live in desert potholes during her recent Canyon Country Outdoor Education field trip. Courtesy photo
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For the past two weeks, students from the sixth grade classes at Helen M. Knight Elementary School and Moab Charter School visited Arches National Park to learn about microorganisms. Canyon Country Outdoor Education rangers, teachers, parents and students explored potholes and lichen fields in the slickrock.

Students collected data about potholes such as salinity, pH and temperature and predicted their effects on the biodiversity found within the pothole from day to day and year to year. They then caught fairy, clam, and tadpole shrimp and examined them with microscopes. Students compared their predictions with their results and speculated about effects of weather and human interactions on these tiny ecosystems.

Students also studied the symbiotic relationship between fungus and algae that is lichen. After examining the lichen with hand lenses and microscopes, the students used the scientific method to determine where lichen prefers to grow. They speculated that more lichen grows on North-facing slopes due to the cooler temperatures and a decrease in evaporation.

Canyon Country Outdoor Education (CCOE) program is a partnership between the National Park Service, Grand County School District and the Moab Charter School.


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