Through funding by the David O. McKay Grant we are working on a project that will help students and teachers better understand and appreciate the natural world around them. We are currently putting together classroom lab activities and trips to nearby aquatic collecting sites to help students better understand the general processes discussed in basic biology courses.

In order to help students gain an appreciation for the world around them they will be given the chance to leave the classroom and collect specimens with teachers and TAs. After collection, students will be able to use identification software to analyze local species diversity. All through these activities students will be encouraged to ask questions about what they see, make hypotheses, and make observations and measurements to test their predictions.

We are also working on expanding the scope of the software used to identify the aquatic specimens. Currently the CD is used to identify specimens found in the Utah area and by the end of the project specimens from the entire western United States will be included. To include these specimens various pictures used for identification are being taken and added to the CD.