We were in our cars and got on the Grafton, Illinois ferry to head back to our meeting place. A lot of us had never been on a ferry before! We saw the tugboat and how the workers made sure the cars were on the ferry. We had to pay to use the ferry. We talked about if you lived there and had to take the ferry to work and how that could be a problem if the ferry didn’t run during bad weather. We were tired when we got back, but had a lot to talk about at our next meeting.
We read about our challenge and looked up ideas for our project on the FIRST Website. We had a topic and then asked ourselves 5 questions and then looked up the answers. We also wrote down where we got our information. Some of the topics we first had were dams, levees, water treatment, and piping. Some of our resources were the internet, videos, books, professionals, our coaches, and our parents. Each teammate talked about their topic.
We also collected water samples from the Mississippi and Missouri river, as well as water from our coaches’ house. We had a water tester package and we tested our water. We found out that there are different minerals in our water and water has to have certain levels of minerals in order to be able to drink it. We talked about how water treatment plants treat our water in order for us to be able to drink it from the faucets in our homes. If there is something in our water like lead, if we drink it, it could make us sick. We saw that the bottle of Mississippi water looked dirty and we decided we would not drink it! Yuck!
After going on the field trip and talking with the farm manager, we brought up more topics, such as drought. After voting, we picked drought. We decided to ask some more questions and do some more research on what the farm manager had told us.
We came up with a problem statement: If there is a drought, Eckert’s would spend more money to water their apples and then it would cost us more to purchase apples from them.
We looked up rain barrels as a solution to the problem. Rain barrels hold 55 gallons and by dividing that into 100,000 gallons – we found out that we would need 1,819 barrels to help water the orchard and that are only for a month!