Jun 10-Aug 02, 2019
Credit: 3 graduate
Instructor(s): Amber Kirkpatrick

Course Description

Registration begins on March 25th - please register for CRN 11167.
The primary goal of this course is to increase the water resource knowledge of students through hands-on, field-based curriculum. To accomplish this, students will be asked to adopt a local stream and perform lab assignments "in the field" to better understand hands-on water quality monitoring techniques. The course will improve the teaching skills of secondary science teachers utilizing distant delivery technologies. By completing this course, secondary science teachers will have a better understanding and hands-on working knowledge of the characterization and quantification of water quality as it relates to secondary school science curriculum and environmental issues on a global scale. Curriculum standards will be linked to each lesson plan so that teachers can easily incorporate the content into their core curriculum.

Meeting Place and Times

Since you will be required to adopt a stream for conducting experiments and analytics, it is important that you have access to the same stream for the duration of the course. Additionally, because this is a full semester course taught over 8 weeks, it is imperative that you are available to participate fully for the entire 8 weeks. Teachers login to the course at a time of day that best fits their schedule. It is necessary to login at least 4 to 6 times per week and spend 13 to 16 hours each week that the course is in session to successfully complete this intensive/compressed 3 credit graduate level course. The time estimate above includes both the time teachers will spend on-line participating in group discussions, etc., and the time spent off-line working on assignments, projects, and lab activities.


Amber Kirkpatrick, MS.
Amber Kirkpatrick received an undergraduate degree in Earth Sciences-physical geography and soils-from Montana State University. As an undergraduate, she spent time in Australia via The International Student Exchange Program, and was awarded a Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) research scholarship in wheat molecular genetics. Graduate research investigated constructed wetlands as an option for management of coal bed methane (CBM) product water locally and saline-sodic water globally. Professional experience centered on water quality monitoring including; water accounting and defining flow/sediment relationships for the Toston Irrigation District and monitoring water quality in the Jack Creek watershed for Moonlight Basin Ranch, a year-round resort community located in a high mountain setting adjacent to wilderness. Amber published two Extension Bulletins; “Irrigating with Limited Water Supplies” and “A Guide to Changing Plant Communities, with Emphasis on Salinizing Sites, in the Arid and Semi-Arid Northern Plains and Mountains Region”. Amber was instrumental in the development of Stream Side Science and was a co-instructor for four years but is now teaching the course on her own.


Bachelor's degree; teaching certification for secondary grades 8-12 science; two years of experience teaching science; completion of NTEN's offering Water Quality in the Classroom: A Characterization of the Science and Issues is recommended but not required.

Target Audience

In-service, place/professional bound 8-12 grade secondary science teachers, particularly those involved or assigned to teaching chemistry, physical and earth sciences, biology and geography.

Time Commitment:

13-16 hours per week. If you are unfamiliar with this field of study and/or method of delivery, you may require more time.

Tuition and Fees

If you are accepted into a qualified online program, see the appropriate MSU Online Only Tuition and Fee table below:

If you are also taking a face-to-face course, please refer to the MSU Fee Schedules.

The cost of the course kit is $80 and this will be added to your student bill.

Lab materials will be shipped to you by Montana State University before the beginning of the course. Some materials you can keep while other lab equipment must be returned after the conclusion of the course (return shipping is at your expense). Return shipping does not need to be via express or anything, but can be returned by way of a more economical shipping rate. Your instructor will let you know which items will need to be returned to Montana State University. In addition, you will be expected to provide some material on your own - please thoroughly read the attached overview and syllabus for more detail on course materials.

If you reside outside the US, please email Kelly Boyce at letting him know, so he can send your kit early.

Required Books/Materials

  • Course Kit

Your course kit, including textbook, supplemental reading materials, and lab materials and equipment will be provided by Montana State University a week or so before the course begins. Some items you are allowed to keep while other lab equipment must be returned to Montana State University following the conclusion of the course (return shipping is at your expense). Return shipping does not need to be via express, but you can return it by way of a more economical shipping rate. Your instructor will let you know which items must be returned.

It is required that you have access to a digital camera and computer connections for upload/download of jpg files, and it is likely you will be asked to find other household items for some of the lab activities.

If you reside outside the US, please email Kelly Boyce at letting him know, so he can send your kit early.

Computer Requirements:

  • Internet access
  • A device and browser that pass the system check for Brightspace LE, MSU's learning management system.

This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

For More Information

about content contact Amber Kirkpatrick at

For information about registration, contact Kelly Boyce at

How to Register

You must be accepted as a student to Montana State University to take this course.

Learn how to apply.

After your application has been accepted, you will register via MSU's online registration system, MyInfo.

Registration requires a PIN number. Learn how to find your PIN.

Once you have your PIN, learn how to register through MyInfo.