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Lafayette Celebrates National Engineering Week

Visiting students from Bangor Middle School got hands on experience designing simple water filters.

hosted 20 Bangor Middle School students Tuesday afternoon, giving them a hands-on lesson in water filtration in honor of National Engineering Week.

The students, part of the school's “Explore Your Future” after-school program, received direction from members of the college's Society of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (SEES) and made simple water filters of their own designs from plastic soda bottles and basic materials, such as sand, gravel, cotton, nylon stocking, and sponges.

The water to be filtered contained food dye (simulating chemicals) beans (representing dirt) and shards of plastic (standing in for litter) all things commonly found in wastewater.

Students working in teams designed filters and tested their efficiency, doing two rounds of trials so they could improve on the original design.

The college hosts the after-school program about five times a year, said Bangor Middle School's director of after-school programs, Sherri Clifford, and the school has enjoyed the exchange for the last three years. The trips are paid for by a grant by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the "21st Century CCLC" program, she added.

“Exploring Your Future” program teacher Ashley Hoffman is enthusiastic about the experience the collaboration offers for the young students.

“I think it's a great opportunity for the kids to get out into the community and see the relationship between what they learn in school and things work in the real world,” she said. “It's never too early to get that real world experience.”

As students compared their relative successes in their second attempts at filtering water, Clifford told them, “Looking at environmental science is something you can begin to think about in 7th or 8th grade, so maybe this is something you want to think about.”

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