The Oral History of the Skagit River Watershed by Suzan Frampton
Susan was an Earthwatch Institute
Teacher Fellow from DE on Earthwatch's "Oral History"
project led by Dr. Liebow in July-August 2002.
Standard 1: Nature of Application of Science and Technology
- The ultimate goal of any scientific investigation is to obtain
evidence precise and thorough enough to answer a question.
Various experimental designs and strategies can be developed
to answer the same question. The comprehensiveness of the investigation
depends on the tools and technologies used.
Standard 5: Earth’s Dynamic Systems
- Water falling to Earth flows over the surface as run-off and
collects in ocean basins, rivers, lakes, ice caps, and underground.
Water stored underground (sub-surface) and water stored above
ground (surface) form a continuum, each supplying water to the
other. Human activity and natural events can introduce chemicals
affecting the quality of the water supply.
Standard 6: Life Processes
- The functioning and health of organisms, including humans,
are influenced by heredity, diet, lifestyle, bacteria, viruses,
parasites, and the environment.
Standard 8: Ecology
- Changes in the physical or biological conditions in an ecosystem
can alter the diversity of species in the system, As the ecosystem
changes, populations of organisms must adapt to these changes,
move to another ecosystem, or become extinct.
- The size of a population in an ecosystem may increase of decrease
s a result of the interrelationships among organisms, availability
of resources, natural disasters, habitat changes, and pollution.
- Agriculture relies heavily in technology to increase productivity.
Advances in irrigation allow crops and to control damage done
by rodents, fungi, insects, and weeds. The need to increase
agricultural production results in an environmental trade-off
(e.g., saltwater intrusion, water table lowering, agricultural
run-off into rivers/streams, elimination of beneficial insects,
Dr. Liebow’s study required the skills of interviewing to collect
his data. Students need practice in interviewing. In addition
to the actual questioning that is involved in the interview, students
need rehearsal in accurate reporting of the information attained
from the interview. The following activity is one that I use
at the beginning of the school year. The activity serves many
purposes. First students need to be aware of the value of interviewing
as a means of collecting information and to assess the point of
view of the interviewee. Students also need to be cognizant listening
to the interviewee without interjecting their personal opinions.
I find that just listening, without interruption, is very difficult
for students. In addition, making sure that students accurately
report the information they collect is important. Finally, this
activity provides the opportunity for the students to get to know
each other a little better. It always helps to have students
see each other in a different light.
Students brainstorm where they may have been interviewed before.
A list of persons in professions who interview is listed on the
board. Many students are unaware of how many interviews they
experience in their everyday life. Students also may not realize
that interviews not have to be conducted verbally. Many interviews
are in written form (job applications, tests, surveys, etc.).
The list of professions where interviews are common generated
could include: doctors, lawyers, police, teachers, parents, friends,
salespersons, scientists, etc. Students always list the obvious
first: newspaper reporters, television talks show hosts, and magazine
editors. As they start to think about the purpose of an interview,
as a tool to collect information, they are able to expand the
list. After the list is finished they then have the opportunity
to collect information about a classmate. They are paired with
someone they do not know. The each take turns interviewing each
other with the following questions:
1. What is your classmate’s full
name (first, middle, last)?
2. What are their hobbies?
3. What is their favorite book?
4. What are their favorite sports?
5. Where did they go on their favorite
6. What are their favorite foods?
Students take notes on the responses of their partners. After
the interview is complete I ask if there are any students who
would like to introduce their classmate to the class. I tell
them to pay strict attention because I am going to take notes
and I will see how well they are paying attention by giving them
a fact and seeing if they can associate it with the correct individual.
When several students have presented their information I give
them the “quiz”. I am always amazed how even picking the most
obscure fact about a person does not stump them. They rarely make
a mistake. They are also good at reporting the information accurately.
Their partners correct any mistakes they make in sharing their
classmate’s information quickly. It is at that time that I remind
them of the importance of being accurate in reporting any information.
The students love this activity and I find it very useful as a
reference point for any discussions that involve interviewing
throughout the school year.