Field Trips

Test the Waters - Middle School

Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
State Standards:
Massachusetts Science & Technology/Engineering
Grade 7: 7.MS-LS2-4, 7.MS-LS2-6, 7.MS-ESS3-4

Students are invited to participate in a worldwide, citizen science initiative! 

Students explore the Saugus River and their place in an estuary ecosystem in this hands-on education program. After collecting water from the river, students will perform a series of tests to determine various factors, including pH, turbidity, oxygen content, etc. 

Park rangers will then guide students through discussions and activities to explore interactions in the ecosystem, our human connections to water, and what it means to be a citizen of the world. 


Grade levels: 6-8
Maximum group size: 25 students
Teachers & chaperones: 1 adult required per 10 students
Duration: 1.5 hours


  • Students will collect and analyze data to interpret the water quality of the Saugus River watershed. 
  • Students will be able to describe how disruptions to water quality can lead to other shifts in the ecosystem. 
  • Students will describe how human activities impact water quality and collectively explore ways to reduce human impact on the Earth's environment. 
  • Students will practice real-world science in a National Park and participate in an international citizen science initiative. 


Before arriving at Saugus Iron Works, students should break up into small groups of 2-3 students (10 groups max). In their groups, students visit EarthEcho International's Water Challenge database and create an account (1 per group). They will upload water quality data here after the field trip. 
Students should have a basic understanding of a watershed, the components of an ecosystem, and how scientists analyze data to understand disruptions to the environment. 

Post-visit activity

In their groups, students log onto their Water Challenge accounts to upload water quality data and photos. 

Extend your visit

Classes can take a self-guided tour of the iron works on a mobile device using the NPS App. The full tour takes about an hour to complete and consists of eight audio stops. 
Classes may also choose to visit the museum, Nature Trail, or historic structures. See Park Hours for more information. 


Email us to schedule a program. Please include information from "Details" section above. Requests must be submitted at least two weeks in advance. 

Last updated: February 1, 2024