Science Center is classroom for River Academy students
By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Wed., Apr. 13, 2011
Students at the Connecticut River Academy had most of the Connecticut Science Center to themselves when they went for a special visit April 11.
The Science Center in downtown Hartford is normally closed on Mondays, but that day it was the classroom for students studying the environment.
The Connecticut Science Center sits on the banks of the Connecticut River, as does the Connecticut River Academy. The top floor exhibit at the museum is dedicated to the river and the science of river dynamics and bio-diversity.
The Connecticut River Academy is a magnet school at Goodwin College with a focus on environmental science. Freshmen study the river during their first year, so this trip was designed to fit the ninth-grade curriculum.
Instructor Tim Kessler showed the students a demonstration of how rivers are formed. As water flowed through sand-like material, it cut patterns that looked like rivers and small streams. “A river never flows straight,” Kessler explained, “it follows the landscape, but it also changes it.”
Students watched an exhibit featuring an aerial view of the Connecticut River, which runs 400 miles from Canada, through New England and into Long Island Sound.
Bruce Morton, director of environmental sciences at Goodwin College, showed the students a demonstration of how contaminants from farming and industry enter ground water and end up in lakes and oceans.
The students also did hands-on projects in the Science Center’s laboratory rooms. Pishon Powell and his lab partner Monet Rivera worked on an experiment that demonstrates water run-off. “It’s cool stuff,” Powell said. “We’re learning more about being eco-friendly.”
Morgan Sweeney and lab partner Matthew Neff conducted a similar experiment using different materials to determine how run-off might change. “It’s been a good experience, a good learning opportunity,” Neff said. “I think we've learned some things we didn't know before.”
“Our school is on the banks of the river, and this is an opportunity to learn more about it - where it goes and where it comes from,” said Linda Dadona, principal of the Connecticut River Academy. “It makes us feel special that they designed a program just for us today to fit our curriculum.”