The Gunnery has been awarded a $1,500 grant from the American Chemical Society to support the purchase of new laboratory equipment for a new Water Systems Design course, which will focus on the quality, treatment and supply of water as a natural resource.
The new course is part of the Innovation, Design, Engineering and Applied Scholarship (IDEAS) Program, which is designed to graduate students with the skills needed to confront challenges found in the study of science, engineering, business and other areas. Students who enroll in any of the STEM-based courses are engaged through a hands-on approach to innovation, problem solving, teamwork and collaboration.
According to Monte Blaustein, who teaches physics and serves as Director of the IDEAS Program, students who enroll in Water Systems Design will learn about water chemistry, collect and analyze water samples from local lakes and rivers as well as the aquifer that supplies water to the school. Students will tour local water and wastewater plants and assemble a working reverse osmosis system similar to that used for desalination and high purity water production. The class will also learn about water treatment and associated water distribution and collection systems, drinking water standards and the laws that regulate water supplies and wastewater.
“We will bring chemistry to life, helping students discover how what they learned in chemistry class relates to the world around them,” Blaustein said, adding “Based on early interest from students, I expect this class will motivate some of them to continue their studies in college and pursue careers in engineering.”
Since 2008, more than 600 high school chemistry teachers have received ACS-Hach High School Chemistry Classroom Grants “to support ideas that enhance classroom learning, foster student development, and reveal the wonders of chemistry,” the ACS said.
Blaustein said the grant will support the school’s purchase of a Hach Safe Drinking Water Laboratory, a Colorimeter-based portable laboratory for drinking water, and a portable incubator.
“This new class will provide hands-on opportunities for students to learn about this topic, which is increasingly relevant today,” Head of School Peter Becker said. “From taking water samples at various sources to conducting a full analysis of the water, and then learning about various methods to treat water, our students will gain a solid understanding of the vital role that water quality plays in our daily lives.”