Monday, May 1, 2017

Designing & Testing Water Filters

Our environmental engineering project came to a close before April Break. Students worked in teams to design and test water filters and documented their inquiry experience with a post for the blog. Click below to read each group's post.

Owen, Liam, Andrew, & Evan

Siena, Noah, Mikalah, Carley, & Sage

Patty, Piper, Maxx, & Gwen

Angelita, Maia, Shannon, & Breanne

Desmond, Nicholas, Trinity, Ethan, & Claire

Friday, March 3, 2017

Environmental Engineering & Design Challenges

Over the winter, the class is engaging in an engineering and design unit from the Museum of Science, Boston. The unit is called "Water, Water Everywhere" and students have completed two lessons thus far. Below are some collaboratively-authored posts about the work we have been doing:

Noah, Gwen & Sage

Saving Salila’s Turtle & Engineering/Tech
This week we each read a short story called Saving Salila’s Turtle. It was about A girl named Salila that lives in India. Her home is right near the sacred lake in India, the Ganges. The book is about her experience designing a water filter to save a turtle she found stranded near the water. Her mother is an Environmental Engineer and she brought Salila to the place she works at so she could learn more about microbes/bacteria. We also talked about our class definitions of technology and engineering: Technology is a tool or innovation used to solve a problem or make life easier. Engineering: Engineers make, innovate, design, and fix, technology using their knowledge of STEM.

The Ganges
The Ganges is a sacred river in India. Some of the reason it is polluted is people bathe in the river and use soap to wash themselves and the soap gets in the water. Another reason the Ganges are polluted is people pour their loved ones cremated ashes into the river, the reason they throw the ashes in the Ganges, is because they believe the river is holy. One more reason it is polluted is, people dump oil into the river which pollutes the Ganges. These are some of the reasons the Ganges are as polluted as they are.

Pollution Solution
Our pollution problem was that a fisherman’s boots had animal waste and lots of bacteria on them. The fisherman stepped in the water and all the bacteria got in the water and polluted it. So we came up with a solution where we would add a hose next to the entrance, so fishers can rinse off their things (boats, boots, etc.) before going putting them in the water. Then we make a dock, and to get the money back they can have a fundraiser.

Maia, Mikalah, Owen & Siena

Over the course of the past couple of months, we have been learning about environmental engineering, and designing solutions and technologies for pollution. We read a book about the polluted Ganges River. A young girl wants to design and make a filter for the river. She asks questions and learns processes to help her along the way. With her knowledge of engineering and technologies, she was able to create a filter. We want to do the same. We also learned about most of the steps in the engineering process:

1. Ask
2. Imagine
3. Plan
4. Create
5. Improve

With those steps in mind, in the future, we are going to design water filters to help us better understand designing and creating solutions.

Maxx, Andrew, Patty & Carley

Engineering and Water Filters 3/3/17
We have paused our watershed project because it’s winter and begun a new unit on engineering and water filtering. We started by reading a book called Saving Salila's Turtle. The book takes place in India and is about the pollution in the Ganges river and water filters being used to help it.

We discovered what an environmental engineer does and created a definition of it and what technology is: “Engineers innovate, design and fix technology using their knowledge of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).” “Technology is a tool or innovation used to solve a problem or make life easier.” We then looked at pictures and listed all of the pollution happening, separating them into categories: Air, water, and ground pollution. We learned the Engineering and Design process, STEM, and soon will be making our own water filters.

Trinity, Claire, Ethan & Liam

Saving Salila’s Turtle 3\3\17
Our class was asked to answer a question, the question was what is technology and what is an engineering. Technology is a tool or an innovation used to solve or make life easier. Engineers are people who make, innovate, design and fix technology using STEaM.

Saving Salila’s Turtle is about a girl who lives in India and finds a small turtle that lives in the water and Salila wants to keep the turtle so the turtle doesn’t get sick in the oil. She goes to work with her mom because she is an environmental engineer and they talk about the engineering design process to make a filter to filter out the water into the tank so the turtle will have a healthy environment in the tank.

The Ganges river is sacred so people bath in it, they have funerals because they think it returns the life back into the river, sometimes they have to drink out of it because they run out of fuel to boil water so they have to drink water straight out of the Ganges.

In our class, we learned vocabulary, the process of making a solution, and what solutions Salila could make to help the Ganges. Some of the solutions were making a water filter, and an Ultraviolet light filter. And to make an air filter for the factories so they don’t pollute the air.

An Environmental Engineer designs ways to fix problems in the environment. They also use the engineering design process to make helpful inventions. 

Breanne, Desmond, Angelita & Nicholas


In science we have been exploring different pollution sources. For example non point where you can not pinpoint the pollution, like litter on a parking lot. Point source pollution is where it’s easy to see where the pollution came or is coming from, like smoke spewing from a factory's smokestack.

We made our own definition of engineer and technology. Our definition of engineer is: Engineers make, innovate, design, fix technologies using their knowledge of STEM. Our interpretation of technology is: Technology is a tool, an innovation, or a resource used to solve problems, communicate, travel, build, and learn with.

We are also learning about the engineering design process of a water filter, the process is:

1. Ask

The way we are learning about that is by reading a book about how polluted the Ganges are, the book is called Saving Salila’s Turtle, it talks about pollution and Environmental engineers. Environmental engineers find a solution for pollution

Shannon, Piper & Evan

Ganges and Pollution 3/3/17
Our class made definitions for the words technology and engineers. The definition for Technology is, a tool or an innovation used to solve a problem or make life easier. We found out that engineers are people that make, innovate, design and fix technology using their knowledge of S.T.E.M. We read this book about this girl named Salila wants to save life in a river called the Ganges from pollution. She tests several water filters to see which one works best, and came up with a decision. The Ganges is a river in India that is really polluted. Salila saw a turtle close to the river and saw that the turtle was not going to survive in the polluted river, so Salila wanted to come up with a solution to make the river clean so all of the water animals will survive in the river. Engineers use S.T.E.M which is an engineering design process. S.T.E.M means, ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve. Our class also answered several things for the pollution solution like, using air filters in the smoke stacks, so only fresh air comes out instead of smog. Environmental engineers help polluted rivers have no pollutants in the, or they help animals in need. That is what our class did for science.