Measuring Water Quality to Understand Human Impact Video displaying a working example of the Measuring Water Quality to Understand Human Impact project.

Measuring Water Quality to Understand Human Impact

Students build electrical conductivity sensors from wire and drinking straws to measure the impact of human activity on freshwater ecosystems. Students first study and assess the quality of water from a simulated watershed and then from their own community.

Project Basics

Takes 1 week of classroom time

Costs approximately $3.00 USD per student, excluding tools and microcontroller

Meets middle school science, technology, engineering and math standards (STEM)

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Partnering with Educators

This summer, the Hacking STEM team partnered with local high school teachers, Alexis Beard and Andrew Hill. Their ideas inspired the development of our Measuring Water Quality to Understand Human Impact project.


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Materials developed in partnership with STEM teachers

Instructions

A step-by-step guide for building electrical conductivity sensors. Includes templates, a list of things you need and detailed instructions.

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Customized Excel Workbook

A Customized Excel workbook displays real-time electrical conductivity data from student built sensors. Requires the Data Streamer add-in listed below.

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Materials List

A spreadsheet with links to online resources to help you bring these projects to your classroom.

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Code for the Project

Pre-built code for your microcontroller to help you and your students visualize live data.

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Technical requirements

Data Streamer Add-in

Modernize your existing copy of Microsoft Excel with this free add-in to support real-time data streaming from your projects.

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Microsoft Excel 2016 (Desktop)

Students and teachers are eligible for free Office 365 Education, which includes online Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

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Arduino IDE

The free Integrated Development Environment enables you to write code that connects your project to an Arduino microcontroller.

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Windows 10

This project requires a PC running Windows 10. To update your version of Windows, click here.

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MORE LESSONS & ACTIVITIES

Hacking STEM library

Hacking STEM offers bite-sized, hands-on, teacher-tested projects and activities that use everyday materials to make STEM affordable, accessible, and fun for everyone. Browse our library for downloadable, printable materials.


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