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Las Cruces teachers participate in Outdoor Science Field Day

Thirty middle-school teachers from the Las Cruces Public School District participated in a science workshop April 24 held by Scientifically Connected Communities (SC2), a program based at New Mexico State University.



Thirty middle-school teachers from the Las Cruces Public School District participated in a science workshop April 24 held by Scientifically Connected Communities (SC2), a program based at New Mexico State University, which included a hike through Filmore Canyon at Dripping Springs. (NMSU photo by Courtney Harmon)

The day long event was instructed by SC2 director Susan Brown, science field specialists Terri Hansen and NMSU graduate student George Navarro. The event integrated inquiry-based science curriculum and technology by using GPS (global positioning system) units, topography maps, GoogleEarth and canoeing down the Rio Grande.

The day began with a hike through Filmore Canyon at Dripping Springs using GPS to observe a major fault and to locate various geologic points of interest. The hike was lead by J.D. Hesse, instructional coordinator from the NASA-sponsored Suborbital Center of Excellence Mobile Laboratory, based at the Physical Science Laboratory and Courtney Harmon, director of the Academy for Young Scientists.

In the afternoon, the teachers paddled down the Rio Grande in canoes from NMSU, launching from La Llorona Park and ending downstream at the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park. Throughout the canoe trip, they observed water levels at different points along the river and compared native vegetation.

The teachers also used topography maps that had images from GoogleEarth superimposed on them and Hesse provided them with science software for classroom use.