Middle school students work as environmental engineers in design challenge


Posted: December 11, 2017

Newport News sixth and seventh-grade students worked as environmental engineers as they designed an efficient wetland that would absorb water to prevent flooding and improve the quality of the water that runs through it. The design challenge, named The Amazing Wetlands, was presented with community partner, the James River Association, who taught students the importance of the wetlands and the role environmental engineers play in their restoration.

Students learned about the different types of wetlands, how they're classified, and why they are important to the environment. Using organic materials typically found in wetlands (sand, peat, topsoil, rocks, etc.), the teams were to construct a wetland. James River Association employees were on site to assist and answer questions.

Winners were selected based on the design, water flow, rise in pH, erosion level and water clarity. The sixth-grade team from Dozier Middle School and the seventh-grade team from Huntington Middle placed first in their respective categories. The Design Challenge is part of the school district's ongoing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education initiative.

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Sixth-Grade Team from Dozier Middle School
Sixth-Grade Team from Dozier Middle School
Seventh-Grade Team from Huntington Middle School
Seventh-Grade Team from Huntington Middle School