Aug 6th, 2020 — Biology • Chemistry • Earth Science • Environmental Science

PASCO Heads Outdoors with Headwaters Science Institute

At Headwaters Science Institute, students learn every step in the process of creating an original research project.

At Headwaters Science Institute in Northern California, the mission is to get kids outside learning science. Creator Megan Seifert, PhD, set out with the mission to empower kids to learn the scientific method by doing hands-on research. Headwaters welcomes students to its Donner Summit field site, where they can choose from a variety of research topics, including water quality, snow science, species diversity, forest health, and more. These students learn every step in the process of creating an original research project, from developing a foundational hypothesis that inspires the research to designing their methods and selecting research materials. PASCO’s equipment has been an essential tool in empowering students to design their research methods.

Water Quality Testing
A student uses the Wireless Temperature Sensor to collect data for his water quality research.

Headwaters works with students throughout California and Nevada, providing science camps, research programs, and even bringing them to field sites near their school. Working with PASCO instruments, such as the Wireless Temperature Sensor, Wireless Dissolved Oxygen Sensor, and the Wireless Colorimeter and Turbidity Sensor gives students glimpses of the type of field research a professional scientist might do. 

Water Analysis
The Wireless Optical Dissolved Oxygen Sensor is a great tool for teaching students about the relationship between water quality and dissolved oxygen.

With the Coronavirus presenting challenges for in-person education, Headwaters has designed a new way to keep students engaged in hands-on learning using safe, online delivery. Through programs like the Fall Environmental Science Research Program, students meet in online cohorts and then conduct field research independently on the outdoors surrounding their home. Headwaters also offers simple, free online learning videos four days a week that provide an introductory science lesson before challenging students to go try it on their own. 

Wireless Colorimeter and Turbidity Testing
Out in the field, a student collects and records data for her research project using the SPARKvue app and the Wireless Colorimeter and Turbidity Sensor.

PASCO’s easy-to-use and effective metering tools are simple enough for students to understand how to use them on their own, yet powerful enough to provide complex data which students can analyze as part of their research project. 

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