Thursday, October 24, 2013

Week 4: Modeling Sustainable Practices

We kicked off the afternoon by learning about the different land surfaces in the Four Mile Watershed. The teen colored in pie charts showing the proportion of different surfaces in the Four Mile watershed. We learned that 40% of the watershed is covered by trees, but 33% of the watershed is impervious surfaces. The impervious surfaces include rooftops 16%, roads 14%, and parking lots 3% of the land surface. All these impervious surfaces move water and pollution quickly into the combined sewer system.

The teens learned trees cover 40% of the watershed and impervious surfaces cover 33%.
The teens then moved to two stations. At the first station the teens learned how much water gravel, pebbles, and sand can store and how quickly water drains through these materials. We learned that gravel stores the least amount of water and water drains quickest through gravel. Sand stores the most water and water drains slowest through sand. These characteristics make sand a good material to use when creating sustainable stormwater practices.

Water storage and drainage activity using gravel, pea pebbles, and sand.
At the second station the teens used materials to recreate the sustainable practices we saw on Tuesday. Teens used sponges and felt to construct rain gardens and green roofs, plastic sheets to represent roadways, and legos to make buildings. 

Sponges demonstrate the benefits of green roofs.
After experimenting with different materials the teens presented their best ideas to the group. This video shows one group's idea to use plastic sheets as roadways and sponges to represent previous pavement. They demonstrate the benefit of the pervious pavement by dumping water on the two surfaces. Next week we will continue to develop these ideas for our museum exhibit.

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