Hello, fellow GRS bloggers and enthusiasts! I want to welcome you to another exciting entry in the saga of the 2014-2015 cohort. Just like last class, our group met outside of the classroom. Our purpose was the same as before: to further develop our mental model of the Genesee River and think about a good basis for an investigation. Since our latest readings involved investigative questions and scientific inquiry, we were even more capable in discovering that basis.
The location this time was outside a trail on Seth Green Dr. (no relation). Coming late and straight from work, I was a little lost but was quickly brought to speed. It was explained to me that the group had exchanged phone numbers. I promptly began entering a wrong number on at least two people’s phones. Besides this, we were examining exemplar VCEEEs. The exercise Jo presented us required each member to go through and select elements of other people’s work that we liked and would like to “steal.” Eric’s use of multiple concepts, Kaitlin’s extensive use of evidence, and Jill’s personal connections to the quotes she listed were all things that we noted.
While working on the exercise, our special guest arrived. A geologist from Bergmann, Steve DeMeo, graciously gave us his time to host a tour on the geological history of the Genesee gorge. What this meant is that the team got informed big time in Earth Science. Steve came with a ton of information, both in the form of himself and hard copies. Each of us received a sheet depicting fossils that we might find in the gorge and a packet of information about the each rock strata of the gorge’s walls. Steve was obviously a very well-prepared (and appreciated) guest speaker.
On the descent down the trail, towards lower falls, the group observed the gorgeous (gorge’s) rock wall and took several notes. Things that were noticed included: some rock layers were sticking out of the wall more than others (eroded less), rock layers had different levels of coarseness, and even fossils were discovered! Steve provided additional fun facts, for example the oldest rock layer in the gorge was about 450 million years old (from the late Ordovician period) which only encompasses 2% of the earth’s history, a paltry amount.
Eventually, we reached the bottom of the gorge and a hop away from lower falls. After taking our observations, we took a fun trip back up the trail (thanks, gravity at an incline). Steve told us about how diamond core drilling is used to determine that a foundation of rock is strong enough to handle a bridge being built atop of it. He also described how Kodak tried to protect their Hawkeye facility from the plunging into the gorge, as the rock layers supporting the building were eroding. They used “tethers” (tugties?), drilled into the face of the rock wall. Making it back to our starting point; we said our goodbyes and thanks to Steve. The next destination was awaiting our arrival.
Turning Point Park was a lovely next stop in our exploration. Upon arrival, we had snack time with some delicious snacks. Jo made delicious bean salsa wraps and cinnamon apple slice goodness. Kaitlin brought in Triple Double Oreos (so proud of you) and other goodies. In the middle of eating, we also set up a marker for our current location with our iPads. Research was performed too, so that each group member could come up with a special fact about the park. This link will provide you most of that information if you are interested.
In the park, there was a walkway that was elevated right over the river that we crossed over. It was a serene and truly worthy to be called an untapped resource. We witnessed a swan nest, which I thought was awesome because biology. Alanna swore to have seen a swan laying eggs in the nest, and we just humored her. We took observations and wrote down questions about the river. A question running in my head was, “At what point will the river not be brown?” Although we wouldn’t be able, I would have liked to see how the river looks from its starting point in the mountains. Anyway, I received an answer to my question at our next location: Charlotte Beach/Lake Ontario.
Running short on time, we quickly set up camp at a pavilion on Charlotte and walked down the pier. Reaching the end of the pier, we bore witness to an intriguing sight. There was clear water to the left of us and brown water to the right. The muddy brown water came from the mouth of the Genesee River, the color resulting from diffuse loose sediment (thus “muddy”). The source of the loose sediment has yet to be determined, at least by me. What was really interesting to me was the way that the clear water and brown water appeared not to mix (reminded me hydrophobic “interactions”).
If you have not guessed already, we wrote down our observations of the lake and went back to camp. Jessica brought up the syllabus, the due date of the Investigation Design assignment in particular. As we were just finishing up our exploration phase, and did not have much time to reflect on the information we gathered, the assignment was pushed back. What you just felt there was a unanimous sigh of relief. Jo had us tell each other our interesting moment of the day, or AH HA! moment. Moments mentioned included: Rochester being close to the equator at one point in time and the “Chinese finger thread game thingy” (Chinese finger trap) analogy for the tugtie technique.
Coming up next, our group will go over the questions we came up with over these last two classes and determine which are investigable and which are not. This upcoming class will herald the completion of the exploratory phase and the beginning of investigation planning.
Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for, who will have this responsibility next?
… Alanna! I choose you!