Students of the Clayton-Bradley STEM Academy took their studies outside along the banks of Pistol Creek, which runs along the school’s property, to literally and figuratively get their feet wet with stream-based STEM activities. The event, called Pistol Creek Day, joined the Little River Watershed Association and other area organizations with the Academy’s K through 11th grade students on August 31 from 9-2 for lessons that are mostly centered on stream ecology.
Volunteers from Little River Watershed Association, Trout Unlimited, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, IDA Engineering and TVA guided activity stations where students rotated through sessions. Activities included a nature walk and birding for grades K-2, a macro- and microinvertibrate lab and water cycle games for grades 3-5, intro to water monitoring for grades 6-8 and a fish inventory for grades 6-11.
CEE Assistant Professor Kim Carter and her UT students presented a module showing the STEM students how to measure the concentrations of nitrate, ammonia and chlorine in water from Pistol Creek using field kits. The activity was designed to educate about methods that can be used for analytical measurements.
Carter also sat on a panel discussion about the different careers in science and engineering. “I thought Pistol Creek was an exciting experience for the students as they learned about different careers in science,” she said.