Lake Taupo and the Waikato River - an investigation

Room 9’s movement inquiry focus this term is around water - and we live in the perfect place to investigate it.

We started by identifying what we already knew about water and what we wanted to find out.

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Throughout, we revisited this chart and filled out what we had learnt.

Ecosystem Jars are a great way to capture the natural environment so that it can be studied in greater detail.

Room 9 had four ecosystem jars to observe.

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The samples were collected from 4 different sites around our local area:

Onekeneke Stream

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Taupo Lakefront

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Waikato River - Reids Farm

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Wharewaka Point

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Students used water purity testing strips to test the water quality.

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We found that the pH levels between the different sites varied slightly between the sites, although all of our samples fell between the healthy pH range of 6.5 - 8.5.

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Our testing showed some variation in general hard water levels - particularly in the Waikato River site. Hard water testing shows the presence of minerals such as magnesium and calcium in the water. Typically, these minerals are present when water travels through rocks, sand and soil. So having a higher hard water result at the Waikato River site isn’t unexpected. This sample also took a few days to settle and clear. 

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We wrote a question to investigate - Is there animal life in our local waterways?

And we wrote a hypothesis that we would test using the samples:

My hypothesis is that there will be bugs in the lakefront sample but not in the Waikato River sample - Eva

My hypothesis is that there will be bugs in the Onekeneke and Wharewaka Point samples - Emma

Students drew a scientific diagram to record their investigation.

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Everyday the students made observations of the samples, seeing if they could see any living organisms.

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I think I can see eggs on the algae - Sam

On Friday, we zoomed in on a Paleoceanographer from America to talk to her about her research into keeping waterways healthy.

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She shared her experiences with us about revitalising polluted waterways.

Arley asked her what he could do as a child to help his local waterway clean. She had some great ideas that Arley could do including:

  • Pickling up rubbish,

  • Taking regular photos to monitor

  • Using test strips to monitor the water quality.

You can see more about her work here: https://sites.google.com/view/laurenhaygood/home 

This water sample scientific investigation prompted more questions from the students about rivers and how they are formed.  This led itself to another science investigation. We crumpled paper up and ‘created’ our very own mountain ranges and coloured where we thought the water would run down.

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Students wrote a hypothesis about our mountains and rivers experiment:

The river is going to go down the folds of the paper - Zoe

The water will soak into our mountain and it will also drip down - Sophie

The water will run down the valleys - Oscar

Then was the fun part! We sprayed our mountains with ‘rain’ and watched what happened.

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We then watched what happened to the water as more was sprayed on.

Watch our video here

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When we sprayed water on our mountain range we observed that the water ran down the canyon because of the folds that were made. This made a lake. Bella 

When we sprayed water on our mountain range we observed that the rain came down in little rivers. In different places some water stayed on top in the craters because it was a dip and in other areas it ran down the sides because it was a slope. Mt hypothesis was correct because I predicted that it would go in different directions. Eva

When we sprayed water on our mountain range we observed lots of rivers connecting to lakes and oceans because of all of the valleys. Some water pooled up in a little crater. Oscar

Our investigations this week into our local waterways have focussed our student inquiries and we have started to collate our information onto padlets.

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Keywords:  Science, Investigations, Lake Taupo, Waikato River

Curriculum Links: Science - Living World, Physical World

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