Measuring Vegetation Health brings together biology, physics, chemistry, technology, art, engineering, and math together in a project that supports predominantly field studies in middle to high school and self-guided education in environmental science. Interestingly, with satellite imagery and computer processing, a number of the "field" studies may be conducted indoors.
All activities include learning how to observe natural phenomena and looking for cause and effect relationships. When dealing with interconnected Earth systems, one cannot run controlled experiments and get realistic results, although some controlled experiments do help support one's understanding of certain processes within an environmental system.
For more information about the importance of field studies in our science education, see
Field Investigations in School Science by Mark Windschitl, 2004
Nature of Science – Dispelling the Myths by William F. McComas, 1998
Observing the World Around Us at Harvard University
How to Use This Website
As with systems thinking, this website is not designed to be linearly explored. Rather, we designed it so exploration of various concepts and skills may be applied and integrated in building complexity.
Many of the materials are designed to isolate and focus on one or two concepts or skills, the activities may be used as stand-alone and integrated into your educational needs. This is why there are so many software programs. Rather than provide one program with a complete set of bells and whistles, which we have found to entice people to click ahead for the automated option, only the needed functions are presented at that time. The automated functions come after one masters that concept or skill.
We are working on ways to navigate this matrix so you may quickly find what you are interested. Suggestions to improve our website are always welcome.
Answers to investigations and challenges are not posted on the web pages, but rather in pdf form as teacher guides. This is to encourage learners to complete their investigations without having the temptation to click ahead to the answer.
What's In a Name?
Because Measuring Vegetation Health is a matrix of interconnected science and technologies, it could also be called:
Using Plants as Green Canaries
Using Light to Look at Our World
Remote Sensing in Your Backyard
Goal of MVH
To have people be comfortable and capable in using accessible technologies to collect, analyze, and integrate data from their local environment and be able to make a valuable story for their needs from this information.