WRMS Students Inspired to Build and Present Water Treatment Systems
In Ms. Schrader's GATE Future Solutions class, students' recently completed a "Dirty Water Project" in which they were challenged to purify a sample of polluted water collected at the raw water reservoirs that serve Ketchum and Hailey. While the scenario was made up, and water wasn't really collected from reservoirs that serve our valley, the polluted water was real. Teacher Ms. Schrader created very polluted water for the students to use. Student's proceeded to act as scientists and engineers as they conducted a variety of tests and experiments to learn about aeration and differing filtration materials. In design teams, groups of students then used their knowledge to build water treatment systems to purify the water. Each group presented their water treatment system to the City of Hailey's wastewater treatment facility employee Bryson Ellsworth, who chose the best system for Hailey to adopt. Ultimately, none of the filtration systems passed the standards of purity that our cities demand, but students were complimented as all having futures in the worlds of science and engineering.
The curriculum was adapted from Utah State Universities Water Quality Extension by Ms. Schrader to better meet district efforts to increase disciplinary literacy, along with building high levels of student engagement. A key component of this is to challenge students to think like an expert in the field as they study the challenges related to maintaining clean drinking water supplies for cities, along with varying engineering and scientific fields.