Armand Pires, Superintendent
45 Holliston St.
Medway, MA 02053
Friday, Nov. 15, 2019
Media Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Email: [email protected]
Medway Students Participate in Massachusetts STEM Week Challenge to Eliminate Plastic Ocean Waste
MEDWAY — Superintendent Armand Pires is pleased to share that Medway students recently celebrated STEM Week and participated in the Massachusetts STEM Week Challenge, which tackled real-world zero waste problems.
Teams of Medway students spent the week practicing mini-challenges and working on their zero waste challenge prototypes. Students were challenged by Mass STEM Hub and Project Lead the Way (PLTW), an inquiry-based science and technology curriculum resource, to design a device to help remove microplastics from the ocean to work toward the goal of zero waste.
On Friday, Oct. 25, three teams of Medway students attended the STEM Week Challenge Showcase where they presented their prototype to engineers, state government employees, researchers and college employees.
Matt Montana, grade seven, and Alex Montana, grade eight, built a prototype of a boat that would pull a filter through the water behind it, gathering and filtering microplastics out of the water. They used recycled plastics, such as coffee cups and water bottles, and other materials such as duct tape, coffee filters and a motor-powered propeller to build the prototype.
Victoria Bullard and Brayden Caldwell, both grade seven, used two motorized fans and part of a plastic water bottle to make the product float and move on its own in the water. The team also used metal washers as weights to balance out the prototype. The filter was constructed with a plastic lid and duct tape and was attached to the water bottle with a string to simulate dragging it along the bottom of the ocean.
Claire Mullen, Colleen Layton and Abby White, all in sixth grade, made two products to help pick up microplastics from the surface and floor of the ocean. The first product was designed to be used in storm pipes to catch both microplastics and bigger plastics before they reach the ocean. The second product was designed similar to a moon rover to pick up microplastics from the bottom of the ocean floor.
Approximately 60,000 students from over 400 schools across Massachusetts tackled real-world zero waste problems for Mass STEM Week. All of the materials used during the week were donated by PLTW.
As part of STEM Week, Leslie Knight, grade five through 12 Science, Technology/Engineering and Computer Science Curriculum and Instruction Leader, as well as science, technology and engineering teachers from Burke-Memorial Elementary School, Medway Middle School and Medway High School, attended the annual PLTW conference on Oct. 21 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
At the conference, Medway High School was awarded the High School Achievement Award, which is given to high schools where at least 25 students earned a score on a PLTW end-of-course assessment qualifying them for college credit. The district was also recognized as a 100 percent Access District. This recognizes school districts that offer PLTW classes in every public school in their district. Medway is one of only four districts in the state to receive this distinction.
“We are proud to be a recipient of the High School Achievement Award and of our recognition as a 100 percent Access District,” Superintendent Pires said. “We are happy to be able to provide our students with high-level STEM learning and are proud of them for taking advantage of this special opportunity to brainstorm and present solutions to a real world problem as part of the STEM Week Challenge.”
About Project Lead The Way
Project Lead The Way is an initiative of Mass STEM Hub, an organization providing access to and support for premier STEM programming. Project Lead The Way aims to make STEM part of students’ regular school day. The program offers K-12 curriculum in engineering, computer science, and biomedical science that engages students in problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration and communication.