Just in time for summer, plunge into the fun science of lakes, rivers, creeks, and ponds with the new DIY Lake Science app. Get wet—or not—as you investigate freshwater ecosystems and their importance to all life on Earth. Using inexpensive, everyday materials, the app lets learners explore freshwater science outdoors or indoors, anywhere they live, go to school, or even travel on vacation.
DIY Lake Science was developed by UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science, in collaboration with the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) and the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center in Vermont. The app for iPad and iPhone takes learners outdoors to find what’s below the surface of bodies of freshwater. With the app's field adventures, learners can make a viewscope and look for underwater plants and animals, build a “quadrat” square and measure biodiversity, and construct a Secchi disc to show how clear or murky a body of water is. Using such tools helps show how scientists test water quality, monitor pollution, track the populations of species, and even discover unknown life forms.
The app's indoor activities guide learners to build models of landscapes and bodies of water to see how rain washes soils through a watershed, how lakes freeze in winter, how pollution seeps into hidden groundwater, and where most of the world’s freshwater is found. Funded by the National Science Foundation, DIY Lake Science uses inexpensive, everyday items like food coloring, ice cubes, potting soil, straws and newspaper. The app can be used for learning at home, at school, after school, and at community events including Earth Day or World Water Day.
"A growing human population uses freshwater for drinking, farming, bathing, cleaning, and generating electrical power,” said Chris Keller, who led the app development team. “We need to better understand how we can maintain sources of freshwater for human use while also maintaining enough freshwater for aquatic pants and animals.
DIY Lake Science is the fourth DIY app from Lawrence Hall of Science, following DIY Nano, DIY Sun Science and DIY Human Body. DIY Sun Science was featured by Apple as one of the Best New Apps on the front page of the Apple Store, and was tweeted by the official App Store Twitter Account to its almost 2.5 million followers.