The Floating Classroom Field Trip provides students with a real-world learning experience on environmental topics while meeting New York State learning standards. It is often conducted in two parts: The first part being the boat trip to study water quality and the other half being stream monitoring to look at how various aspects of the land can affect water quality.
- Floating Classroom Program: Boarding the Rosalia Anna Ashby in Lake George Village to learn about Lake George and study water quality while traveling the lake.
- Stream Monitoring Program: Walking along streams at the Lake George Recreation Center to study how various aspects of the land can affect water quality.
Planning Your Field Trip
- Availability: Weekdays May–June and September–mid-October. Student programs can also be scheduled during July and August for an additional fee.
- Length: Typically 9:00am-1:30pm, including both the Floating Classroom and Stream Monitoring Programs. Both programs can also be done as separate field trips, and we can adjust start and end times to work with a school’s schedule. However, we do require schools to come for at least 3 1/2 hours if doing both the Floating Classroom and stream monitoring programs. If your class is just interested in the Floating Classroom program, the program will be 2 hours.
- Capacity: The boat can carry 30 passengers per trip. We can accommodate up to 60 by running two sections of each program in parallel. Multiple days can be arranged for larger groups.
- Cost: Thanks to grant funding, the program is free for schools located within the Lake George watershed during the school year. For schools outside of the watershed, the program fee is $150. Any student programs conducted during July and August have a $275 program fee.
- When and how to book: Please review our Floating Classroom booking policy and contact us directly. We care deeply about teaching as many students as possible about the importance of keeping Lake George clean. However, due to increasing requests, schools within the Lake George watershed will be given first priority in booking dates for fall and spring programs.
Specific topics covered in each program are shown below. Students will receive workbooks to fill out during the day so they can remember what they have learned on the trip and use it back in the classroom. In addition, our education programs page has options for pre-trip or post-trip activities taught by you or by our LGA educators.
Floating Classroom Program Content
- Lake George Basics: Learn what makes Lake George different from other lakes. How long is it? How deep is it? How many islands does it have?
- History: Get a brief geological history of the formation of the lake. What did the lake look like before the glaciers came through? Why does the lake flow north?
- Water Clarity and Trophic State: Using a secchi disk, you’ll measure water clarity. How far can you see into the lake? We’ll discuss the factors affecting the clarity of the water and you’ll find out if the lake is oligotrophic, mesotrophic, or eutrophic.
- Food Webs and Plankton: You’ll catch and identify zooplankton using plankton nets and field microscopes. Why are they important to the health of the lake? What else lives in the lake?
- Water Chemistry: Using a Van Dorn bottle, you will obtain water to measure water temperature, pH
and dissolved oxygen levels. What can these tests help us determine over time.
- Water Quality Issues: Learn about threats to the lake such as invasive species and nonpoint source pollution. Fertilizers, septic systems, stormwater runoff, and road salt are all sources of pollution to the lake. What are simple things that can be done to help protect the lake?
Stream Monitoring Program Content
- The Watershed. What is a watershed and why is it important? How do pollution and nutrients enter the lake?
- Human Activities. How do waste treatment, development, land use, stormwater runoff, and other activities affect the lake?
- Natural Processes. How do soils, native and invasive vegetation, erosion, and other natural processes and characteristics of the watershed affect the lake?
- Stream Ecology. Collect and identify macroinvertebrates in the stream to determine the health of the stream. What macroinvertebrates are indicators of clean water? To learn about macroinvertebrates visit our macroinvertebrates page.
- Conclusions: Everything in a watershed can affect the lake. And we all live in a watershed. What actions in the watershed affect the lake and what can we do to help protect the lake? How can we protect streams in order to protect the lake?
NYS Learning Standards Addressed
The Floating Classroom Field Trip Program – complete with the on water Floating Classroom and on land Stream Monitoring portions – addresses the following New York State Education Standards:
Standard 1 Analysis, Inquiry, and Design
- Scientific Inquiry Key Idea 2: Beyond the use of reasoning and consensus, scientific inquiry involves the testing of proposed explanations involving the use of conventional techniques and procedures and usually requiring considerable ingenuity.
- Scientific Inquiry Key Idea 3: The observations made while testing proposed explanations, when analyzed using conventional and invented methods, provide new insights into phenomena.
Standard 4 Science
- The Living Environment Key Idea 1: Living things are both similar to and different from each other and from nonliving things.
- The Living Environment Key Idea 5: Organisms maintain a dynamic equilibrium that sustains life.
- The Living Environment Key Idea 6: Plants and animals depend on each other and their physical environment.
- The Living Environment Key Idea 7: Human decisions and activities have had a profound impact on the physical and living environment.
- Physical Setting/ Earth Science Key Idea 2: Many of the phenomena that we observe on Earth involve interactions among components of air, water, and land.