The land that Upham Woods sits upon has a deep and engaging story to tell. Whether it is the complex ecological interactions on Blackhawk Island or the ever-changing water conditions of the Wisconsin River, there is endless opportunity to research and explore. The Digital Observation Technology Skills (DOTS) Program is a flexible scientific approach that allows learners to look closer into their natural surroundings in a new and engaging way. By utilizing intentional observation activities and digital technology, the DOTS program promotes a deeper, place-based understanding of the complicated world we live in and improves learners’ inquiry skills beyond Upham Woods.
Over five hundred students of all ages took part in the DOTS program throughout the month of October. They explored Blackhawk Island and the main campus, researching everything from fog impacts on weather to fish scales, microclimates inside caves to the heat retention of their survival shelters, and even the life cycle of pine trees… just to name a few topics. They generated their own questions and hypotheses about the things that interested them about the place they were in and used tools such as microscopes, weather stations, and thermal imagers to help find answers. At the end of each outing, they created a scientific story to communicate their findings and experience to anyone who wasn’t there. To learn more about the DOTS approach and see how this unique experiential program can be a part of your experience here at Upham Woods, check out our online DOTS page at:https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/environmentaleducation/programs/technology-programs/dots/