Wow, what a week it has been in Innovation Lab! We’ve seen and been seen, and it’s been a blast.
On Tuesday, Innovation Lab students and faculty took our show on the road to the Grass Island Waste Water Treatment Plant. Plant Process Control Manager Dwayne Lockwood gave us a start-to-finish tour that enabled our students to see first-hand how Greenwich manages and cleans its water supply. Mike in the on-site laboratory also showed us the various chemical and biologic quality control tests performed to track the performance of the plant and the “cleanliness” of the effluent water being pumped into the Long Island Sound. While on the trip, students were asked to draw their own annotated schematic diagrams explaining the various steps of treatment through which water progresses as it moves through the plant. In addition, we began to relate our understandings of the nitrogen cycle to the various parameters measured by the plant. Have a look at Flora, Sam, or Juliana’s blog post for more details and reactions from the student perspective.
Back in the Innovation Lab STEM room, students applied their understandings of the water cycle, the waste water treatment process, and other major biogeochemical cycles (nitrogen cycle, phosphorus cycle, and carbon cycle) to environmental issues – local or global – about which they are concerned. They began formulating their own research questions relating to these real-world environmental concerns, and then designing and prototyping the apparati by which to investigate those questions. From studying the impact on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on ocean-water ecosystems or the impact of fertilizers on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, to quantitating the acceleration of the water cycle due to Global Warming, or evaluating how easily various types of potentially polluting substances can enter the water supply, students are getting their hands dirty (literally) and loving it! You can get a peek at James’ groups’ project on his blog.
At Tuesday night’s GHS Open House, parents of Innovation Lab students got the opportunity to see the facility, meet Innovation Lab faculty, learn more about the program and its projects, and hear from some of the students themselves what the the Innovation Lab experience is all about. The energy was palpable and discussions were both deeply meaningful and inspiring. We are sincerely appreciative of the overwhelmingly positive and supportive response of parents. For an example, you can read one parent’s reaction here.
After school on Wednesday, Innovation Lab hosted the Greenwich Alliance for Education‘s Reaching Out Grants reception for grant recipients. Again Innovation Lab students were on hand to give tours of the facility and speak with the other grant recipients, administrators, PTA and Alliance members, Board of Education members, and other attendees. Our students definitely impressed, as you can tell from articles about the event published in the Greenwich Free Press and the Greenwich Time.
It’s been an amazing whirlwind of a week. Whew, are we exhausted!
Oh, and in between all of the other amazing things going on…. Carly and Pierce built a bench.