Middle school students participate with FPU, TVA Science Kids in World Water Monitoring program

Fifth grade students at Fayetteville Middle School recently participated in a hands-on science lab, World Water Monitoring, offered by the Tennessee Valley Authority as part of the TVA Science Kids curriculum to help students understand the importance of our natural resources and the balance we must reach to meet the needs of the Valley.

Vicki Stevens-Valentine, program manager for TVA Science Kid’s World Water Monitoring program, led the students in 90-minute learning sessions over a two-day period that focused on water resources, caring for our environment and how water is closely monitored using the scientific method. Students were instructed on how to collect, record and interpret data; use scientific equipment; observe chemical reactions; and draw conclusions and/or present hypotheses. 

Fayetteville Public Utilities’ Water Plant Supervisor David Posey also visited with students to explain the role of FPU’s Water Treatment Plant and how water from the Elk River is filtered, treated and distributed for our local drinking water. Posey also explained how TVA releases water while generating electricity via the Tims Ford Dam and how FPU uses some of the same tests that students would conduct during the classroom learning session to make the Elk River water safe to drink.

“This is a great program for the kids,” says Posey. “This is a fun, interactive way to teach young minds about Environmental Science as well as the impact that it has on their every-day lives.”

Prior to the presentations, Stevens-Valentine collected water from the Elk River near Stonebridge Park. Students filled their test kit beakers and ran tests for turbidity (measurement of how clean/dirty the water is), pH (measurement of base and acid levels), and dissolved oxygen and also measured water temperature to conclude if the water is healthy for fish and other organisms that live in the Elk River.

“We protect what we love,” says Stevens-Valentine, “so learning how to care for and love our natural resources benefits us all. About 70% of Earth’s surface is covered with water. Of this water, 97% is salt water and is filled with salt and other minerals that humans cannot drink; 2% of the water is glacier ice at the North and South Poles; and the remaining 1% is the fresh water which is suitable for us to drink. Not only is this drinkable water used and consumed by people, it is also used for energy production, transportation, business and industry and many other purposes. This is why we need to understand the importance of caring for our water and other natural resources.”


FPU’s David Posey explains to students how our local water treatment plant uses water from the Elk River to provide clean drinking water to its customers.

Stevens-Valentine assists the students in gathering water samples and observing water temperature.

Scott Posey, Fayetteville Middle School science teacher, helps a student group test water samples.

Students in Mr. Posey’s fifth grade measure water turbidity using the Secchi disk decal on the bottom of their beaker.