Great State Of Minds: Terryville High School

TERRYVILLE -- As part of their next generation science standards curriculum, students in Erica Archambault’s freshmen class are testing different water sources to determine what’s safe to drink and what isn’t. They’ve made their own hypotheses and are using the scientific method to come to a conclusion.

“With the next generation science standards, we are looking at making science more in the hands of our students. I think it’s better that they’re discovering things, that’s what science is, and i know my biggest concern is getting them ready for the next steps whether that’s college or whatever job they’re looking for and they learn best when it’s hands on” Archambault said. She talked about how the old school way of lecturing students while they sit there is outdated, and a more hands-on approach has been working very well.

In their recent labs, the students were able to choose three water sources on their own, and then test them using various methods.

Jacques Caron, a freshmen in Archambault’s class, told us he tested three different waters: home well water, Waterbury tap water, and bottled water.

They ran various tests on that water, measuring pH, hardness, clarity, and chlorine content. Of course, there were a few surprises. Jade Ockenfels told us “The school water is actually a little more surprising because we didn’t expect the school water to have as much alkalinity as it did or as much nitrate as it did.”

It is still very much safe to drink, so don’t worry about that, and it’s not just the water testing. They’ve also developed their own water filters to make sure it’s safe to drink, and have learned the global importance of recycling plastic bottles.

Up next in the curriculum is weather and climate, and they’ll be utilizing similar methods to learn as much as possible. Regardless of what they’re studying, Mrs. Archambalt is confident that the students will dive right into the subject.

“Yeah, I think this year I’m just really happy with my students. I’m really proud of them for being able to do all of this independently. That’s a big shift in education now.”

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