Water Quality Project

Water Quality Project


– So this morning, the
concentration of lead was 1.0, parts of a billion. I teach at an urban school and environmental racism
is something that plagues the community that our kids are from. And so, I was looking for a project that included this idea
of environmental racism but in sort of a larger context. The crisis in Flint would
serve as the main case study that my students would focus
on to explore this idea. I want you to consider
a different perspective. A different compound you
may think might work. One of the major issues
with the Flint water crisis was that public officials did not include corrosive inhibitors. Corrosive inhibitors are typically used to prevent lead leaching
into the water system. And so the driving question
for this project became what is the most effective
corrosive inhibitor. So, there are three exhibits
for this mystery piece. Here is how we’re going to
interact with the posters. We’re going to use this thinking routine called see, think, and wonder. There are two for things
you see, I see that. There are two for I think, my interpretation of what I see is. And then I wonder. I have a question, and
this is my question. So we kicked off the project
using a mystery piece. And the purpose of the
mystery piece was to captivate the students’ interests
in the particular topic that we would be studying
without fully giving it away. And so the mystery piece consisted of pictures, texts, graphs, images
of the Flint water crisis. And the purpose of this was basically to spark the curiosity of the students. I wanted them to make
an emotional connection to this project. So the big reveal. This semester we are going to
be discovering water quality. Okay, and we’re going to be
looking at Flint, Michigan. I was fortunate enough to see all of the really
interesting ideas you posted. What I want you to do now is
make that public to your group. – Well I wondered why people
still have to fight for water when it should be our right. And people in Flint still
don’t have clean water and it’s been years. – I also wondered if the schools do choose to shut the fountains down what are they going to
use as a replacement. – And so during our whole class debrief, I used another protocol: I
used to think and now I think. And one of the students
thought about Flint, but his thinking got challenged because of some of the images that we saw. Our learning targets for today are, I can design an experiment
to test the effectiveness of corrosive inhibitors. I can develop a testable hypothesis. I can generate a hypothesis
based on my research. So after the entry event,
students need to develop background knowledge on the topic. Marcus, others would say. – Others would say that sodium silicate is a more effective corrosive inhibitor because it serves both needs. – And so we read secondary
sources, we watched videos, we listened to podcasts about
what was happening in Flint and we generated lots of questions, and then we categorized those
questions into two lists. What I need to know and
what I want to know. Then we sub-categorized those
questions into other lists. Are those questions quickly answerable? Do they lead to a
scientific investigation? Are they open-ended? Are they narrow? Based on your knowledge
of corrosive inhibitors which would be the most effective,
what makes you say that? – According to Scientific American, how lead ended up in Flint drinking water, not applying ortho fast rate
into the water regularly would cause O2 to react with
lead atoms oxidizing them, and once they’re oxidized the
lead dissolves into the water instead of sticking to the pipes. – And one question that
came up over and over again is what’s the best corrosive inhibitor. And then we did our mandatory
pubmed Google search. We wanted to see if someone
had asked that question. We found through our research that no one had done the study before. And then there was a
need to publish this work and so we determined that
the audience for this study would be the Flint officials. The second constituency
we’re sending this paper to are the scientists at Virginia Tech. Our idea emerged from their paper and we think that our
knowledge will be useful to addressing this problem. And then the kids were told
to design an experiment. How did you come up with this? – I just thought of the water cycle and how water evaporates. – After they designed their idea, they came into the laboratory and they set up their experiments, and it was full steam ahead. And they were just so
excited to see what happens. I sort of have to hold them at bay. But I set them down and had
them go through this routine, predict, observe, explain,
where even before they see what they want to see or
make their observations they have to predict. They check out what’s happened,
that’s their observation and they explain what they’ve
seen based on science. – Yesterday, my lead levels was 0.5 and I expect it to go down to 0.3. – My hypothesis has not
been supported by data. So I stated that polyethylene glycol would be the most effective
at stopping corrosion. – And so in the lab, students
were mixing a certain amount of water with corrosive
inhibitor and adding lead. And every day, they were measuring the amount of lead that was leached, and they were measuring
the quantities of lead using one of the pieces
of equipment that we have. And they were documenting
this in Microsoft Excel to do statistical analysis. – I’m really excited to
work with you all today to sort of hear about the
research that you’ve been doing. – What I do now, I’m going
to school as a PhD student is a lot of stuff with
statistical analysis. – Hi, my name is Arie, I’m also a senior. From the past, I also have experience with T-Tests and Nova tests and Z-scores. – I invited experts into the room. And so these experts ranged from students who had taken the class
with me to PhD students, to people who are
currently using statistics and math teachers. It was important for
me to have the students see people look like
them, who are friendly, who were experts in their work, working alongside them
to teach them something. – And so what’s your goal for today? – Today is just to finish pairing up all the corrosive
inhibitors with each other. – If I get a T of 1.9, I would say oh, this might just be
random noise in my data. – It’s like if I have a coin
and I flip it a hundred times. – Okay. – Do you think I’m going to get exactly 50 heads, exactly 50 tails? – No.
– No. – And so what that looked
like for that particular day was I’m going to meet with
an expert about statistics. I wanted to learn how to use
T-Tests, I still don’t get it. And this becomes the
basis of the conversation with the adults as opposed
to what traditionally has happened, I don’t
know what to do, tell me. I think this structure
promotes a sense of agency, I have some control over my life, and I can advocate for what I need. – We also have to control
different kinds of elements so in this case it would be independent and dependent variable. – Some effects of lead and
water especially affects a lot of children and
infants and pregnant women because they’re not fully developed yet. – Because since lead can be
found in different water sources this stigma autonomy it can
help clean heavy metals. Part of writing this paper is having their work undergo public scrutiny. And so in our class we have
that through presentations. – Can you restate your hypothesis ’cause you probably said it
but I wasn’t really clear exactly what your hypothesis was. – It was really nice to
have experts assess them, give them really positive feedback, and also learn alongside
them in designing something that was novel to both the students and the experts in the room. – You guys were extremely
thorough and that you had healthy debate that
was really really good. – I was just at a grad
school class on regression and tons of grown adults can’t talk about this in a coherent way. You guys are well on your way. – Teaching kids how to be
self-directed is really important. Teaching kids how to be
curious is really important. And I also think that kids actually care that their project has a final destination that’s not my file cabinet. It’s going to help real people that they’re emotionally invested with. They’re adding to a body of knowledge for which no knowledge exists. Their work means something.