Awards for this Project:
Alaska Society for Technology in Education Winner, 2011 ($3000 stipend plus $10,000 grant)
Microsoft US Innovative Educator's Forum, First Place, Extended Learning, 2011
· Every year, salmon return to Alaskan rivers from the ocean to spawn. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game maintains sonar weirs that count each individual fish (and the particular subspecies it belongs to) in order to make sure that we have sustainable numbers of fish returning. This count data is stored online, and we accessed and analyzed it using Excel and Graphing Calculators to develop a general mathematical model for each run over the course of several years. These general models took the form of parabolas, and we generated quadratic equations in order to solve for the x-intercepts and vertices of the parabolas. This information gave us the average start and end dates of each run and the average date that the largest number of fish enter the river. Armed with this information, we invited two Fish and Game Biologists to our school and presented them with our conclusions.
We also discussed many other aspects of the salmon runs as well, including the Biology behind the spawn, having a sustainable and clean harvest of salmon, the history of the use of salmon in Alaska (including the Native Alaskans), enhancing your diet with salmon and wild game meat, and using the Alaska Department of Fish and Game fishing regulations in order to legally and ethically harvest salmon on your own.
Students were paired with a partner and were expected to maintain task lists and hold each other accountable for not completing work using a tool called the Decision and Action Record. The class in general posted their positives, questions, suggested changes, and bright ideas to a tool called the Parking Lot.