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Environmental Science studentsEnvironmental Science students in science teacher Heather Ross’ classes have spent the year learning about the most important environmental issues facing us today. In the past few weeks, students have been challenged with investigating solutions to problems such as clean drinking water, renewable energy, energy efficiency and plastics.  

Savannah Rodriguez and Haeden Veshia holding water filtration systems

Savannah Rodriguez and Haeden Veshia win the Water Filter Challenge.

The first challenge was for students to design and build a water filtration device using commonly available materials. Students, working in teams, built, tested and measured the performance of the filtration device, analyzed the data collected, and used this information to work toward an improved filtration design.

Building upon data gathered by “A” day students, many “B” day teams were able to raise water pH from 5 to 7 and improve on water clarity. One team was a “clear” standout though. Congratulations to Savannah Rodriguez and Haeden Veshia on winning the Water Filter Challenge!

The second challenge was for students to build the most efficient solar cars. Students raced their cars to determine which cars had the best and most efficient design. Congratulations to Emily Casatelli and Kayla Belanger for winning this challenge!

Emily Casatelli and Kayla Belanger holding solar cars

Emily Casatelli and Kayla Belanger win the Solar Car Challenge.

The third challenge was to make environmentally friendly edible water “bottles” using an extract from brown algae. Seaweed has increasingly been used in packaging since it is easily harvested, edible and biodegradable!

The AP Environmental Science students will be participating in a fourth challenge where they will design and build a model house that uses passive solar design innovations. The goal of passive solar design is to maximize solar energy in order to minimize the use of traditional energy sources. They will work in teams and their finished products will be tested using heat lamps to simulate winter and summer. The winning house will be the one that stays the coolest in the summer and absorbs and retains the most heat in the winter.