LCHS Snow Science Reflection

Group_snowshoePlease comment on the following questions:

  1. How do you feel right now? Compare these feelings with those that you have after completing a typical science lab at school?
  2. In what ways was today’s field experience similar to typical science labs you have completed in school?  In what ways was it different?
  3. What is the most valuable thing you learned from today’s experiences?
  4. What was your favorite part about today’s field work?  Use your senses to help describe your answer to this as best you can (sights, smells, sounds, etc.).
  5. How have today’s experiences shaped your understanding of careers in water resources or hydrology?
  6. Provide some commentary on how today’s field work has influenced your personal view point on the environmental issue of freshwater resource use and budgeting?

15 thoughts on “LCHS Snow Science Reflection

  1. 1. How do you feel right now? Compare these feelings with those that you have after completing a typical science lab at school?
    I felt exhausted, to be honest. It was a very tiring day, but I felt so much more satisfied with my work. I felt like I had accomplished so much and had incredible amounts of fun while doing so. I don’t have nearly that much fun when I complete a normal science lab. Being outdoors and performing these tests, were more educational and more entertaining.
    2. In what ways was today’s field experience similar to typical science labs you have completed in school? In what ways was it different?
    Today’s field experience was similar to a typical science lab in the sense that we were testing various variables and recording our results. However, it was very different because of the process in which we attained the data and the lab itself. The process to gain the information was much more hands on and more active for me to participate in. The data itself was also not something based off of past events, like a lab about Mount Saint Helen’s, or made-up, like some school labs. It is information that can and will be used for our area and to help with real life issues. Knowing that made the whole experience quite different.
    3. What is the most valuable thing you learned from today’s experiences?
    I learned that snow shoeing is hard and how to test for an avalanche.
    4. What was your favorite part about today’s field work? Use your senses to help describe your answer to this as best you can (sights, smells, sounds, etc.).
    My favorite part of the day’s field work was definitely playing in the snow. It was fun to see people build snow caves and tunnels, working on our labs, and snow shoeing around Lookout.
    5. How have today’s experiences shaped your understanding of careers in water resources or hydrology?
    It showed me the various different activities someone might perform if they had a career in water resources in the CDA area. Our testing process is something that they would have to do every winter for their profession. I also learned what kind of activities would be included in a career involving snow or ski patrol.
    6. Provide some commentary on how today’s field work has influenced your personal view point on the environmental issue of freshwater resource use and budgeting?
    It definitely showed me how large and important our snow pack is in this area. Without the snow pack and the water included in it, our whole entire environment in this area would change and be incredibly different. For me, that realization reinforced my ideals about freshwater resource use. I believe that this exploration only proves even more that we should take care of our resources and use them wisely. We have a limited water supply and we should be using it as efficiently and environmentally friendly as possible.

  2. 1. At the end of our Water Quantity field trip I felt completely equipped to conduct the data testing on my own, and I actually enjoyed the data collection (which is unusual for me). This is really incomparable to a “typical” high school science lab. I mean we were outdoors, getting exercise, and it was a beautiful snowy winter day. It really doesn’t get much better than that.
    2. The only aspect of this field work being similar to a science lab was the data numbers and organization. Other than that our collection of the data was completely abnormal (in the best way possible); seriously who doesn’t like playing in the snow and digging huge pits.
    3. Honestly, the most valuable thing that I learned today was the avalanche testing that our always entertaining ski patrol guy gave us. I love the outdoors and will continue to expand my outdoorsiness, back country skiing is a huge part of that. So, this is the information that we learned that I am most likely to use in my future.
    4. Hmmm… My favorite part about the field work had to be testing the temperature at the different layers. It was amazing to see how much the temperature varied depending on the layer being closer to the surface or closer to the ground level. I would have never predicted the temperature of snow to change based off of what time of the year it fell.
    5. Today’s experiences have shown me that careers in water resources are very active and all about outdoors involvement. They have an intellectual level as well as a physical level to them. Hydrologists aren’t just science nerds, but they’re fit outdoors men too. It’s a refreshing realization.
    6. Well, after our field trip it became obvious to me that keeping tabs on our snowfall levels is extremely vital for our water use in Coeur d’Alene. I don’t think I had realized before just how much we really do rely on the snowfall to supply our lakes and rivers. When skiing/snowboarding I don’t think about the actual amount of snow that I am riding over. We use that snow fall later on when it has melted and becomes our fresh water supply for the rest of that year… Yeah, I’d say it’s important to keep it clean.

  3. 1. I feel enthusiastic. After being outdoors and working in the snow I felt like I actually accomplished something, unlike most science labs.
    2. The only similarity to a science lab during school is the systematic collection of data. Otherwise, the experience was completely different. Being outdoors made the field trip much better than a normal science lab.
    3. The most valuable thing I learned was the different layers and how some can be very dense and some not dense at all. Also, I learned what facets were and how they could affect the possibility of an avalanche.
    4. My favorite part of the field trip was after we finished the digging of the second pit, we had time to make a snow tunnel. Any time you play in the snow you are going to have a fun time.
    5. The field trip helped me understand the different activities that are available in careers in water resources, and how they are very active jobs.
    6. I learned how vital the snow is and how it is a major source of our water. I was surprised to find out that 80% of the precipitation in Idaho falls as snow. It is important to keep track of changes in the water budget throughout the year, and the winter is a vital time to keep track of the water resources in the northwest.

  4. 1. Immediately following our day at Lookout, I felt mentally drained and physically exhausted. But looking back, I agree with Josh Webb, I really feel as if we were able to accomplish something for science. Not only benefitting ourselves, but also those around us, now that we are better equipped with the knowledge we need to share with others our experiences and new skills.
    2. A similar experiment could have easily been done in a lab station setup; using snow gathered earlier and pre-processed data, however a large part of the experience was based on being outdoors and seeing, touching and feeling the changes.
    3. For me, I found the snow layers information most prevalent because after studying that a little deeper, I can see how easily one can predict the skiing conditions for the day based on previous cold snaps or warm spells.
    4. I thoroughly enjoyed Ed Gately’s informative lesson on avalanche testing. The demonstrations he performed were useful and logical, and I found myself to be very focused on what he was doing.
    5. Especially after spending more time around the University of Idaho students, my interest in hydrology continued to increase. It was great to experience the sorts of tests some careers in this field allow you to do on a daily basis.
    6. It amazes me that we are so accurately able to take measurements of the snow pack and predict how much water will be available through the Coeur d’Alene Watershed. This information seems vital, and particularly on light snow years, can make a huge difference when if comes to our personal use and conservation.

    • Ashlie Stansfield of St. Maries High School
      1. I agree entirely with you guys. I felt exhausted, but accomplished, also.
      2. I think that it would be harder to do this field trip in a lab, but it could still happen.
      3. I agree that the snow layers information was really important.
      4.I too thought that the avalanche awareness information was interesting and helpful.
      5. I agree. Hydrology is becoming more and more interesting.
      6. I think that knowing this information is vital for our water resources for personnel use, too.

  5. 1. I felt great as our snow science field trip came to a close. The weather was great and so was the snow. It sure beat a boring old lab conducted in a class room.
    2. This lab was similar to most other labs I have been a part of at school in that it had a plan, a procedure and an expected outcome. It was different from other labs because i had the opportunity to do research and gather data in the field, in this case, lookout pass.
    3. the things I learned that I thought were most valuable were the avalanche tests. I am an avid snowboarder and took great interest in the topic.
    4. My favorite part of the field trip was being up in the cold fresh mountain air and being able to see the snow covered peaks I dream of during boring classes at school.
    5. The field trip helped me to understand the hard work and dedication it takes to be a hydrologist.
    6. The trip honestly did not change my views of fresh water resources. I have always understood that water is the basis of all life on earth and it is an extremely important resource to monitor. I also know that the best way to estimate the amount of water available for the year is to measure snow-pack, a no brainer, really. I still leaned a lot and had a great time!

  6. 1. Following our field trip up to Lookout Pass, I found that I was completely drained mentally and physically. However, I can definitely agree with both Josh and Kassidy. Never have I felt so accomplished after doing something that was strictly school related. From this day forward, we as a class are more fit to conquer any sort of obstacles that involve what we went through on this very day.
    2. A very similar experiment would be one that involves frozen snow gathered the day of the experiment and tools that allow students to measure many of the same variables we did out at Lookout. However, I feel like the whole point of the field trip was to physically interact with the world around us rather then be cooped up in some classroom.
    3. In my opinion, I found the data on the layers of snow the most important because after seeing the demonstration our guide gave us, it gave me a better understanding of how necessary it is to know which or how many of layers of snow are beneath you at certain times.
    4. My favorite part about today’s field trip was either getting to dig deeper and deeper into the snow’s layers or Ed’s demonstration of avalanche testing. Many of us were intrigued with the the sights of the caves and the avalanche testing along with being able to physically handle the snow itself.
    5. Along with getting to spend more and more time with the grad students from U of I, my interest in the studies of hydrology continually increased.
    6. Overall, the field trip up to Lookout Pass has allowed me to better understand the movements of water and the conservation of its qualities. All in all, our schools around the area should grasp the idea of hydrology and further students’ studies within it, thus allowing for a better understanding of the conservation of water and its wide array of very useful and reprehensible qualities.

    Jake Harrison

  7. 1. Right now I feel enthusiastic to reflect on my awesome day at lookout. Also I feel stoked about doing a lab outside of a classroom.
    2. Today’s field work was similar to those in labs in class due to the tools we used such as thermometers, and scales. It was different than in school labs because it was way more hands on and gave you a more realistic feel/ realization of how you could apply these skills to a career in the future.
    3. The most valuable thing I learned from today’s experience was learning to be prepared. I was ready at any given moment for the weather to change.
    4. My favorite part about today’s field work was learning the “bag test” for testing the snow pack stability. That was the first time I have ever seen this method used.
    5. Today’s experience had kinda just refreshed my mind on the possible careers in water resources due to the fact this was my third time digging snow pits with E-Dawg.
    6. Today’s field work didn’t really influence my point of view on the environmental issue of freshwater or the budget because the snow pack was at its normal depth for that time of year.

  8. 1) I feel satisfied and enlightened in a way that would be unattainable in a typical science lab, just because an outdoor experience has such a different atmosphere that allows for a much more realistic experience. It was as “hands-on” as you could get.
    2) The differences are fairly obvious, we were outside and every member of every team was involved in a way I don’t think typical science labs could replicate. Data collection practices and processing methods were similar to the methods we would use in a typical science lab.
    3) The most valuable thing I personally learned today was the information about how to test for weak layers in the snow and avalanche danger, something I will definitely use in the near future with my outdoor activities.
    4) My favorite part about today’s field work was the being in the snowy environment, something I personally prefer. I really enjoyed the fresh air and the hiking we did, as it is always good to get a little exercise and learn something at the same time.
    5) I now better understand what professionals in the area of hydrology do when they conduct field work, because I got to test alongside theses professionals.
    6) Water is the most vital resource to a human. Today’s experience allowed me to understand why Idaho’s water sources are so important, because snowfall has a tremendous impact on the watershed and our access to water as a resource. Water budgets must be managed closely to avoid any catastrophes that could potentially damage our access to water.


  9. 1. Right now I’m a little tired and pumped that the day is done. That being said I had fun on the trip, and it was refreshing to be doing something out in the real world as compared to a lab table.
    2.This lab like other labs had given steps to take to properly complete the lab. Unlike other labs this was a test out in the real world in an uncontrolled environment. There also weren’t any expected results so it was like we were actually discovering something which we were.
    3. The most valuable thing I learned was that there are a ton of jobs in science and a lot of them aren’t terribly difficult.
    4. I enjoyed getting to the first snow shoe destination most. It was beautiful, there was fresh air, and I was able to relax after the first snow shoeing which was nice.
    5. Today’s experience has shown me that there are plenty of jobs to do in hydrology and also that those jobs aren’t always difficult but none the less important.
    6.The field work didn’t affect my view point on freshwater budgeting because there was quite a bit of snow on the mountain. At least at a normal level and I didn’t hear any real concerns during the trip.

  10. 1. As of right now I feel as if we did something to help the community. Doing a science lab outside of school is excellent, it is more hands on. When it is more hands on I feel that there’s a tendency that people will achieve and learn better skills.
    2. The way that the lab experiences were the same was that we followed data, organized charts, and gathered information. They were different with the way we performed tasks. If we were in a classroom we would have not been able to dig snow pits. Also they way that we had to work with each other was more of a mellow way, rather then a uptight mood.
    3. The most valuable thing that I learned from this field trip was how to test for avalanches. I thought this was very helpful because I’m always outside in the winter doing winter sports. I learned a lot of new things from this trip, but the avalanche lesson was the most useful.
    4. My favorite thing about today was the fact that it was a school activity, but yet we were snowshoeing in a place as beautiful as Lookout. It was a little chilly but we couldn’t have asked for a better. The trip was all around outstanding.
    5. This field trip showed me that the careers in this field a really needed. I did not think that the snow levels were that big of a deal to our community. This would be a very interesting career to look into.
    6. During this trip, while listening to the instructors it made me realize how big the water plays a role in our community. I think the are city isn’t thankful for the fresh water that we acquire. Throughout this field trip it made me have more respect for the snow, water, and the people that spend there days making sure we will have enough water resource for our community.

  11. 1. As of right now, after finishing our field trip i feel great. I had a blast and i felt like we did a lab that actually has a practical purpose. In high school labs we normally do experiments that don’t actually have a purpose, just a procedure of things to measure, where as during this trip I actually knew why we were doing what we did and what real life purpose it had.
    2. Other than our water quality lab at Camp Easton, this lab was completely different. We got to go outside, get out of the class room and have fun while doing a lab. It was similar to other labs because we took measurements and recorded data.
    3. The most valuable thing I learned was how to test for avalanches. Learning how to do this will allow me to be safer when doing outdoor activities in the winter.
    4. My favorite part about today’s field work was being out of the boring classroom and getting to enjoy the beautiful snowy mountains. I really enjoyed the snowy scenery. I do not snowboard or ski so I usually only see the mountains during the summer or fall when I am camping or hunting so it was enjoyable to see it during the winter.
    5. I now have a better understanding of how and what hydrologists do and has made me aware of how important their work is to our community.
    6. Before today I had never thought of water budgeting being important because we are fortunate enough to not have problems with using up all our water, but now I see how it can be extremely important in dry places to control fresh water resources because they are not as abundant and there is a possibility of running out.

    • Elexus Moore of SMHS
      1. I agree with you on the lab part. I too feel as if this experience has done more for us then just regular labs.
      2. I too had fun on this experience. After we were done recording all of our data we had 15 min left to ourselves. In those 15 minutes we sledded down a little slope and into the parking lot. We had a blast.
      3. It’s nice that you learned the avalanche safety this will most definitely help you and your class to be safe on the slopes.
      4. I’m all for it too. I loved seeing the scenery also. It was incredible to get out of the classroom. We were allowed to release our energy into learning about snow and how it affects us.
      5. Yes, indeed their work is very important to us and our community.
      6. I, too, think that this might be a possibility for our community because we depend heavily on snowpack.

  12. 1. After being able to spend the day on the mountain, I feel hopeful. Today we were able to experience the real life application of certain aspects of science (such as avalanche prevention) and determine how it truly affects human lives first hand.
    2. Today’s lab was similar in the essence that beforehand a procedure was created and then through the execution of the plan we created a set of valuable data, parallel to a lab in school. A main difference was that we were forced to go and collect the data ourselves, rather than being given raw data already preset at our lab station. Another difference is that Nic’s shirt usually stays on during our labs at school…thankfully.
    3. The most valuable thing I learned was the satisfaction of being able to work hard for your own data.
    4. My favorite part about today was when one of the grad students was describing to us avalanches and she used the metaphor of taking Dixie Cups and stacking them into a pyramid and then placing heavily condensed snow on the top of that. That was a great illustration that really helped me to understand the purpose of what we were doing.
    5. This field trip helped shape my understanding of water resources careers by linking it to activities that we all participate in. Such as the man with the job of testing the snow that people are (not) about to snowboard/ski on.
    6. My viewpoint was impacted by just being able to dig and truly see the amount of snow that we have been blessed with and being able to correlate that with the significant impact that it has on the environment that we live in.

    —Alexis Rollins—

  13. Dear Alexis Rollins,
    We the people of St. Maries felt the same exhaustion and bitter cold that you guys did. I also share the feeling of accomplishment and thankfulness of everyone keeping their shirts on. In contrast we had to dig bigger holes than you did because Lookout received about another 2 feet of snow after you guys had your field experience. We also learned how to jump our sleds into a parking lot and do somersaults with grace.
    Yours Truly
    Warren Renfrew of the Honors Biology Class of SMHS

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