Real Time Data

Human Impacts—Real Time Data

Summary: How is water quality inland related to water quality located downstream? Real time or near-real-time data collected by scientists and remote sensing equipment are available to view online.  In this focus area, students access some of these tools to answer questions about water quality.

Concepts to teach: Water quality, real time data, inquiry, downstream

Goals: Students access and interpret water quality data in the classroom using the internet and remote sensing tools. They use the data to answer questions about how water quality inland influences water quality downstream.

S.06.3S.1, S.06.3S.2, S06.3S.3
S.07.3S.1, S.07.3S.2, 7.3S.3

S.08.3S.1, S.08.3S.2

Specific Objectives:

  1. Gain experience working with real time data.
  2. Address/answer a water quality inquiry using real time data.
  3. Explain how inland and coastal water quality is connected.

Activity Links and Resources:

  • Monitoring Estuarine Water Quality—From the NOAA Data in the Classroom Curriculum
    • Lessons 1-4 show how to read real time water quality data in an Atlantic system
    • Lesson 5 invites students to ask a question about local water quality and look for data to support or disprove a hypothesis. For example, track turbidity and temperature at South Slough Winchester Arm over one year and explain how inland rivers may be influencing seasonal trends.
  • NANOOS—Collect and interpret real time water quality data from ocean observing buoys. Some buoys are located well up the Columbia River, so students are able to conduct an inquiry to compare and contrast aquatic, estuarine and ocean water quality data.
    • Rhythms of Our Coastal Waters interactive online exhibit leads students through real-time data collection and assessment in Yaquina Bay, Newport.
  • Compare StreamWebs data from different sites in the watershed and throughout Oregon.


  • Students prepare a scientific lab report that describes the procedures and outcome of their investigation using real-time data.