Service, STEMM Ideas Intersect in Belize

leven 7th and 8th grade students from Bishop Leibold, Holy Angels, Our Lady of Rosary, and St. Chris gathered at CJ on Saturday, October 8 to participate in a CJ STEMM program led by Meg Draeger, CJ STEMM coordinator, along with Anna Roland ’12, CJ Key Club member and Belize mission trip alumni.

The day began with a presentation and slide show about the 2011 CJ Belize Mission Trip, given by Anna Roland and Samantha Weckesser, seniors who went on the trip.  Students learned a bit about the culture and living conditions in Punta Gorda, and all the CJ students did to interact with the children and families there.  The lack of direct access to clean water particularly struck Anna Roland when she was in Belize, and she imparted to the participating students the privilege we have of abundant, constantly accessible clean water in our own lives.

After learning how much water is contained on the earth, in various forms, it was pointed out how little of it – approximately 3% - is ready for immediate human consumption and use.  An Envision aquifer model, owned by the City of Dayton Department of Water, was borrowed and demonstrated to the students, and the snack for the day included tap water to support the department’s “Take Back the Tap” campaign.

The students experienced water hauling by carrying a bucket filled with 2.5 gallons of dirty water, simulating a milder version of a chore women and children do in developing countries each day.  They then proceeded to calculate and estimate their personal and household daily water use, and discuss ideas for water conservation, such as low flow shower heads, low flow toilets, and turning off the water when brushing teeth.

In teams, the students designed and constructed water filters with common household materials, and took a look at a filter CJ Project Lead the Way engineering students designed.  The day concluded by students putting their creative talents to work in making posters depicting water issues.

The students spent the morning becoming more aware of the many issues and stakeholders involved in the seemingly simple global challenge of “providing access to clean water for all”.  They reflected on what some consider a “right to water”, and the prevalence of the sale and consumption of bottled water.