*This log starts after the end of the 2012-2013 school year.  This log will go from the end of May 2013 into the 2013-2014 school year.

Go To:



Skype Call

Today’s meeting is a simply a Skype call to Gerald Ohs about the current use of bio-sand filters in third world countries.  Our last day of school was yesterday (5/23) but the school building is still open today so we are meeting in the engineering room at 11:45 am for our meeting.

A total of 11 students showed up to this meeting.  Questions and answers were exchanged and the meeting was recorded.  The recording isn’t the greatest and we hope to get better recordings for future calls.  Click Here for a full recording of the call.  It would have been helpful to have a capturing software to record a video of the session specifically for when he went outside to show us the bio-sand filter mold for creating concrete filters.

The biggest thing we learned from the call was that education is important and specifically hands-on learning is the best way to educate those who would use the filter so that they can effectively maintain, clean, and fix the filters if needed.


Our focus has shifted somewhat.  We would like to focus on 3 core areas for our design.  These categories we would like to investigate are:

  • Communication regarding educating people using the filters on how they work and function.
  • Education as far as why clean water is important.
  • Design to improve efficiency, ease of access, etc.


Afternoon Meeting

Today 9 students showed up for our fairly brief meeting at noon.  People that showed up were Mitchell, Grace, Connor, Brody, Riley, Abby, Evan, Ian, and Jordan.  We started out by discussing the future structure of our team so we discussed members’ strengths in order to pinpoint what each of us can contribute to the effort.  Some major characteristics we discussed were focused, outgoing, leadership, technological ability, and creativity.


Morning Meeting

Today’s quote: “Who wants Diarrhea?” -Abby Timmermeyer

Participants: Mitchell, Connor, Eric, Ian, Jack, Evan, Abby, Riley, Brody, Jordan, K’lee, Philip

We have made an order for a life straw to investigate and learn from.

Mr. Matia (our leader) was at Eureka Fest this past week and listened to other teams from the past year’s competition speak on their success.  The point of this is that it is important to realize how big this project can be and what is possible for us.

Today we had two guests from The Gazette come to take pictures and make notes for an article about our project in the local newspaper.  We talked about our project, why we are excited, and the people in general.

Some points made today were:

  • Accounting is important
  • Material for filter is important: Bamboo will not work on its own.
  • Inland sand is better
  • shape of sand is important for filtration
  • Application MUST be completed by September 6th this year.

We plan on starting construction on a mold and an actual filter to run tests and create prototypes.


Morning Meeting

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Attendance: Ian McMorran, Mitchell Ross, Philip Garcia, Riley Schroeder, Jack Janzen, Evan Dutch, Jordan Nahabetian, Brody Strunk, K’Lee Romero, Abby Timmermeyer, Eric Metcalf

Today we go to look at for the first time our life straw which has just arrived.  It’s quite a bit bigger than we had imagined and have yet to test it.  One thing we noticed was that there is no easy way to test it.  A person must trust that it works before using it.

Everybody at the meeting today received a packet containing a guide for designing, constructing, installing, operating, and maintaining a biosand filter.  We are starting by constructing this version of the filter by CAWST (the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology) in order to gain some experience using one of these filters and experiencing first hand the various problems that may arise while using or even building the filter all in hopes of creating a new system or device to provide for easy construction and efficient use of the biosand filter.  A tools and materials list is being compiled in our resources so that we can see who can supply what and then determine what addition materials we need to purchase.

Our typical meeting schedule is once every week on Thursdays but we decided that the project provided a reason to adjust this schedule slightly.  We will therefor be meeting on Monday, July 15 to start collaborating on what tools and materials we need to acquire before starting this project.


Morning Meeting

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00
Attendance: Ian McMorran, Mitchell Ross, Philip Garcia, Jack Janzen, Evan Dutch, Jordan Nahabetian, Eric Metcalf, Grace Jiang, K’Lee Romero.

Today’s meeting was spent primarily discussing materials for the filter mold.  We contacted Pikes Peak Steel for help and are working on compiling a list of other companies to contact in search of inexpensive sheet metal.


Wednesday Meeting

Time: 11:00 a.m. (approximately) – 12:02 and ___

Today is a lunch time class period called “advisory” at our school. We are meeting for about an hour, leaving for our next class, and then returning for the normally scheduled class. Today is the first documented school day. I will likely make meeting updates every Wednesday to reduce the amount of space that will be taken up on this page.

Today we started by identifying important items that need to be included and stressed in the final application to MIT. These items are:

  • Calendar tied to last year
  • Teams worked on proposal
  • Stating a measureable goal – metric 20%
  • Novel and scientifically feasibility
  • Partnerships
  • Contact hours

Then we broke out into our groups to do work on the components of the application


Wednesday Meeting

Time: 11:00 – 12:00

We are currently making some final changes to the components to our application.  We are collaborating with a couple of the English teachers at the school who have agreed to review our writing for grammatical and spelling errors.


Wednesday Class

Time: 1:26 – 2:40

Today is a typical class meeting. We have submitted our final application to MIT and are awaiting results. In the meantime, we are continuing work on our project. The refinement team, a group within the research and development team, proposed an idea incorporating natural resources to make building a filter easier. Those kids borrowed some clay from the art class in order to create an example of how their idea would work.


Wednesday Class

Time: 1:26 – 2:40
(We also met at lunch time to discuss fundraising and coffee 🙂 )

Today is a typical class meeting. The 3 research team leaders presented each teams’ progress in their research. The refinement team has been looking at a few options for basic structure and building refinements, the materials team has been looking into different materials to put in the filter and to make the filter out of, and the bio-research team has been looking into how to transplant a bio-layer and use other resources to encourage bio-layer growth.


Morning Meeting

Time: 10:00am – 2:00pm

Today’s meeting takes place during the second week of our fall break. 14 students attended today’s meeting. The attendance list today is: Jack Janzen, Evan Dutch, Mitchell Ross, Trevor Altenbernd, Ian McMorran, Tyler Smith, Jordan Nahabetian, Riley Schroeder, Philip Dupree, Joe Ralph, Abby Timmermeyer, Josiah Robison, Brody Strunk, Quentin Kern, Eric Metcalf, Robert Brandt.

We discussed meeting structure and goals and deadlines so that we can continue to move forward in a timely fashion.

Another focus of today’s meeting was on purchasing materials to put together filters to use for water testing and prototype testing.

We brought up questions about getting sand sifted by an outside source. How is the sand transported? How is it packaged? What is the cost?

People got to work today on building a second filter to do some testing on sifted versus un-sifted sand.

We discussed as a group different fundraising ideas and a timeline for them. One of our major ideas is to host a 5k run type of event.


Wednesday Meeting and Class

Time: 10:53 – 11:30

Today we continue to plan out tests for various ideas we have developed. During the first time period, we also decided on how to structure our actual class time because we were given an opportunity to make a Skype call with a man who has connections to a community in Haiti.

For information on the Skype call, go to the blog page to read about it.


Administrative Meeting

Time: 2:50 – 4:00
Attendees: Jack Janzen, Evan Dutch, Mitchell Ross, Brian Zipplies, Josiah Robison, Phillip Dupree, Riley Schroeder, Grace Jiang

Today’s meeting is a first of its kind. We will be doing these meetings ideally every other week. The plan is that these meetings will be held for things including sponsorships, trip planning, and fund raising.

Task Management
These lists will be to assign tasks to different types of gatherings. This is to keep us focused and doing things when it is best to do them.

In Class: Testing, Building, Creating prototypes, work in focus groups, before and after class “focus meetings”

After School Meetings: Admiinistrative duties (fund raising, sponsorships, communications, event planning, budget updates, etc)

Advisory Class: Planning/Scheduling day


Wednesday Class

Time: 1:26 – 2:40

Today’s class time is designated to brainstorming again for more innovative ideas. We have several good ideas but they aren’t very significant or original so we are refocusing in order to create some original ideas.


Friday Leadership Meeting

Time: 2:50 – 4:00
Attendees Jack, Mitchell, Riley, Jordan, Josiah, Ian

Today’s meeting is focused on discussing creating ideas for our display at the Engineering Summit and EurekaFest, creating a master priority list, and organizing all of the tasks that need to happen.

In our display for EurekaFest we would like to showcase:
-Working Models
-Video Presentation
-Running Slideshow
-Informed Students
-Sample Manuals/Pamphlets
-Swag Bag Items (??)

The meeting lost its focus after this and we got talking about brainstorming and thinking more outside of the box. We would like to have a full day over break to spend just brainstorming in order to come up with some more inventive ideas. The idea was expressed to spend 7 a.m to sometime late in the evening dedicated to just brainstorming solutions to our outlined problem.


Morning at Panera Bread

Time: 10:00 – 11:25
Attendees Mitchel, Jack, Evan, Tyler, Josiah, Brody, Grace, Abby, Jordan, Riley, Ian, Eric

This morning is one of 3 meetings we have planned over break. This morning we are discussing project deadlines. We need to set “firm, but fair” deadlines so that we can stay on track with EurekaFest quickly approaching. We also discussed the 30th. We will be meeting for a full day to have a brainstorming session. We decided on food plans and a specific schedule for the day.

Here is an outline of our deadlines:
Feb 21- Need a final approach and first prototype
March 1- Have a developed presentation


Brainstorming Frenzy

Time: 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Attendees: Abby, Phillip D., Mitchell, Jack, Evan, Ian, Trevor, Philip G., Quentin, Brian, Tyler, Josiah, Riley, Jordan, Brody
Today was a fantastic event in which we spent hours brainstorming and coming up with many new ideas. By the end of the day we had several cardboard models of some of the team’s favorite ideas that we hope to pursue into further testing and prototyping. here is a copy of the suggested schedule for the day that we, for the most part, followed fairly accurately.

7:00 – 8:00

7:00 – 7:30
-Breakfast will be a BYOB. (Bring your own breakfast)

7:30 – 8:00
-Team meeting time

Session 1
8:00 – 12:00

8:00 – 9:45
-Brainstorming Part 1
-Individual for 10 minutes
-Teams of 2 for 20 minutes
-Teams of 4 for the remainder

9:45 – 10:15
-Break Time

10:15 – 12:00
-Brainstorming Part 2
-Teams of 4 for 10 minutes
-Teams of 8 for remainder

12:00 – 1:00

12:00 – 1:00
-Sub Sandwiches. Long party subs from Subway. Jack is in charge of lunch.
-Mingling about session 2 groups

Session 2
1:00 – 6:00

1:00 – 4:00
-Teams of 3 or 4
-Use materials to build model of proposed idea.
4:00 – 4:30
-Break Time

4:30 – 6:00
-Finish building
-Design group presentations for proposal

6:00 – 7:30

6:00 – 6:15
-Prep time

6:15 – 7:30
-Eat. Pasta and sauce buffet line. Evan is in charge.

Session 3
7:30 – 9:00

7:30 – 8:30
-Present proposals

8:30 – 9:00
-Wrap up

Some of the ideas that came out from today’s event included rotating filter set-ups, submersible systems, sectioned filters, and the inclusion of new substances to process.


Normal Class

Time: 1:10 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.

Today we received a visit from Diane Foley who has taken many trips to Haiti as a doctor doing medical work. She presented lots of information on water access in Haiti after the earthquake and at most, only about 70% of people had access to clean water in both rural and urban areas.

Things learned:
-Diarrhea is the leading cause of death resulting from unsafe drinking water.
-On La Gonave, wells are broken, water is full of salt.
-Personal investment in filtration systems results in a higher chance of proper upkeep. It seems that people who have invested some money for installation will be more likely to maintain it down the road.
-La Gonave annual income is $120.
-It has been made even more clear that in order to help people in Haiti and other 3rd world countries, it is important not to just give them items.
-Help in countries like Haiti is welcomed gratefully but can be looked down upon when it is thrust upon them. It is important that the people living there have a part in helping themselves. They will find it insulting if people try to help them without first asking what they specifically need help with.
-One company nearby is called Starfysh who has done work with biosand filters in Haiti.


Advisory class and Normal class

Today we got a visit from Ted Beckett who shared his experiences on La Gonave. He told us great stories of him doing work on the island and explained some of the things going on there. He encourages all of us to go to Haiti if we get the opportunity and to continue with this project as much as possible because of its importance in places like Haiti.


Tell Us What You Think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: