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PDCI Students Test Tay River & Report Findings
PDCI Students Test Tay River and Report Findings to Community
Posted on 06/21/2022
Students show water testing kits

Four Grade 8 students from Perth District and Collegiate Institute represented their 100 classmates on Friday, June 17 in the Perth Council Chambers to present to members of council, community members, and parents and guardians their findings from a recent water study done on the Tay River.

Odin Makinga, Lyla Chiasson, Myles Verge, and Jillian Edey described the process of the real-world learning project and how on two separate days in June, they along with rest of the school’s Grade 7 and Grade 8 students canoed upstream and downstream of the Perth Lagoon and tested the water in both areas. Students tested for water temperature, hardness, dissolved oxygen, alkalinity, PH levels, conductivity, chorine levels, and clarity, all to determine the health of the Tay River on either side of the lagoon.

grade 8 students PDCIAs part of the study, they learned the importance of each element they tested the water for and the impact of it being unbalanced. For example, severe fluxuations in hardness can have a negative effect on aquatic life, and oxygen level can determine what aquatic species are able to live in the water and if unnecessary organic matter is in the water.

After more than 50 tests, the students discovered the following:

  • Hardness slipped slightly out of a healthy range after it passed through the lagoon during their testing period.

  • Dissolved oxygen improved downstream, possibly due to the plant life present in the lagoon area.

  • Alkalinity is moved to a safer point after it flowed through the lagoon. This is because the lagoon is neutralizing the sewage and sewage outflow raises the alkalinity.

  • All other factors tested seem to stay within a healthy margin, which indicated the lagoon is doing its job.

Makinga said that this was a “wonderful experience” for him as he wants to be a marine biologist. “I liked getting to learn something about what I might do on a regular basis, if my career path stays the same,” he said. “I was glad to learn that the lagoon is doing its job. I was expecting for it to actually not be helping the water.”

“I liked the entire experience. The canoeing was fun and being with my friends, and learning how to take water tests,” added Verge. “I had no idea there would be chlorine in the water.”

For this project, Real-World Learning Partner Evan Barr explained it took collaboration between the Town of Perth, Rideau Conservation Authority and Perth Outfitters to make this project come to life for students. “We moved away from the traditional pencil and paper worksheets format of learning to a model where the work students are doing is tied to their community, is real, and is memorable,” he explained.

Among the rapt audience in the Perth Council Champers during the presentation were representatives from the community group, Friends of The Tay. “You are exactly the type of people that Friends of the Tay get excited about,” said Glenn Tunnock, of the volunteer group. “We would like to acknowledge what you’ve done for the community and the environment.”

After the presentation, Perth staff offered to set up a future tour of the lagoon and urged the continuance of this program as a multi-year project, with support from the town and community groups.

The students provided ideas about what could part of a future water study project, including a closer look at the marine life in the Tay River as well as the plant life.

“We need the support of the community to make these projects happen. It makes it so much better for the kids to figure out how the world works,” added Barr.

PDCI student presentation
For media inquiries, please contact:

April Scott-Clarke
Manager of Communications
Upper Canada District School Board
[email protected]
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