This year, my chemistry class had the opportunity to do a semester long project on the water crisis in Flint, MI. We had an assignment every month and each varied. All of the assignments showed us how important it is to have addressed the problems in Flint and they all made us think about how we can prevent situations like this from happening.
For me personally, I was not aware of what was going on in Flint prior to our first assignment. I’m sure I would have learned about it regardless, but I am not sure that I would have actually cared about it as much as I do now. This project made me really interested in Flint. Because we covered a wide array of topics relating to lead contamination, I understand what is happening in Flint in a way I would not have had we not done the project. I would not have taken part in class discussions and hands-on learning experiences all about Flint. The project was extremely beneficial, and I am glad to have done it.
For my final Flint assignment, I chose to do a lab where I had to purify really dirty water. It turned out to be super cool and fun to do and it was a really nice way to end my year in chemistry. I was given water with garden soil, vegetable oil and some unknown chemical and from there I needed to make it as clean as possible. I was so intimidated by it but it ended up perfectly clear!
The water I purified before (right beaker) and after (left beaker).
Finally, we ended our project with a presentation to a fifth grade class. I was assigned to research the health effects of lead. It was really rewarding to be able to share my knowledge on Flint with kids who seemed genuinely interested. They asked so many questions and I think they got a lot out of their visit.
Moving forward, I will continue to learn about what’s going on in Flint, and I hope by sharing what I learned throughout this project I can maybe help make progress when it comes to situations like the one in Flint.