COURTESY PHOTO CCISD 2nd graders wade into the creek to collect aquatic critters and predict water quality in the urban waterway at Barton Springs which is fed by a natural aquifer.

CCISD 2nd graders get microscopic view of Austin aquatic life


Special to Leader-Press


Clad in rain boots and with microscopes in hand, CCISD second graders observed and identified all kinds of water creatures, including some that were endangered and in their federally protected habitat.

Second grade gifted education students went on a field trip to the Austin Nature and Science Center. Located in the middle of Austin and on the western edge of Zilker Park, it has been dedicated to the exploration of the natural world since 1960. The Austin Nature & Science Center’s environmental educators engage students in Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills-based activities that integrate the rigor of the classroom science experience with the relevance of field experience at the regional environmental education center located in the heart of Austin in Zilker Park. The center offers a variety of quality informal science experiences to support and enrich classroom curriculum.

During their field trip, the second graders had to wear their water and hiking shoes as they hiked down to the Lower Barton Creek and waded into the creek to collect aquatic critters and predict water quality in the urban waterway which is home to the endangered Barton Springs Salamander.  For student Lucas Hall, it was an entirely new experience. 

“I have never gone somewhere like that. It was really cool,” Hall said. “I really like catching the different species in the pong with our nets.”

The students learned how to safely observe live collected critters under a microscope as well as to identify and classify aquatic invertebrates. Students enjoyed the opportunity to feel like real scientists hiking and exploring the beautiful woods and collecting their own samples for the lab. 

It was the variety of things being taught that kept Jadelyn Mays interested.

“I like to explore nature, like the ponds and animals,” Mays said. “We got to see many different things.”

Each little scientist seems to like exploring the adaptations and lift cycles of aquatic organisms as well as their environment.

“Our field trip was really interesting I liked looking at all the animals under the microscope,” Camron Holt said.

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