Ames High Biology Students Learning With Big Outdoor Project

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AMES, Iowa  --  Ames High School biology students are getting hands-on experience working on a new parking lot at Ames City Hall this week.

The parking lot is designed to retain water on the site, and the students are working to determine what type of plants would be good with this project.

“Last spring we had 80 small groups. All of our sophomores in biology work with advisors. They grew 12,000 native plants in the greenhouse,” said Mike Todd, a biology teacher at Ames High School. “They worked with clients, they each had a client, they had to go to their house and figure out what the soil conditions were like, what are the sunlight conditions there.”

The students had to make decisions as to what types of plants would do best for various projects, like the one at Ames City Hall.

“We learned that basically these different insects and animals feed on these native plants,” said Ahnarrie Parkinson, an Ames High biology student. “We’re starting to spread non-native plants, and they are invasive.”

The project was done with assistance from the City of Ames and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

“This real high quality project-based learning ends up being the meat of the class,” said Todd. “It is the class, the reason for learning everything, and it becomes powerful for the students when they learn it in that way.”

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