Project-Based Science

Grades 7–8
Bolsa Knolls Middle School
Salinas, CA

Major Objectives

  • Build a functioning ROV
  • Use ROV to collect water samples
  • Analyze water samples
  • Record water sample data on a national database


Students at Bolsa Knolls Middle School used the second quarter of a semester class on electricity to build a functioning underwater ROV. The class designed and built a water sampling mechanism to attach to their ROV. Students then used their ROV to gather a water sample from Elkhorn Slough, a local estuarine environment. The water was tested for pH, salinity, turbidity, nitrate and phosphate levels and dissolved oxygen. The students hope to enter their data on a citizen science database.

  • Project Length:
    9 months
  • Outreach:
    120 students
  • Community Partners:
    California State University, Monterey Bay; Monterey Youth Fund
  • Related Aquarium Teacher Program:
    Project-Based Science Teacher Institute

Notes from the Field

"I have learned the importance of having students make predictions and supporting predictions with reasons for making those predictions."