Comparing Lake and River Water Quality

The weather has been gorgeous lately, and with River Classroom, we latch on to any excuse we can to be outside. Yesterday, our 4th-6th graders from Espanola headed back to the Rio Chama below Abiquiu Dam to test water quality.

We began on the Rio Chama, where half of our students measured data, while the other half learned “The Good Graph Rules”. These rules will be very important next time we meet, and we’ll be creating graphs on which we can record our water quality data for the rest of the year.

Testing water quality on the Rio Chama
Testing water quality on the Rio Chama
Recording our data
Taking time out to catch and identify a Sagebrush lizard

After a thorough discussion of the water quality on the Rio Chama, we headed back up to Abiquiu Lake to eat lunch and switch groups. We wanted to compare water quality on both bodies of water.

Everybody is happy to be outside doing science!
Confident students measuring dissolved oxygen
Measuring pH and conductivity with our samples.
Recording meteorological data
Everybody has a job and a parameter to measure

We’ve measured water quality before, but this was the first time this year that we took the time to discuss it in detail. Water is a very important resource in New Mexico, and our students understand why it’s something that we should value and protect. We’ll continue monitoring water quality data throughout the year, both in Abiquiu and in Tierra Amarilla. These data will help us understand the Rio Chama watershed so that we can protect and conserve it.


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