Students in Brick’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) academy were busy their first year – and the environment has them and their teachers to thank.
Students from both Brick Township High School and Brick Memorial High School can attend the academy, which focuses rigorous coursework on STEM topics. But for the program’s first year, district staff and students worked together to develop a program that would transform the curriculum into a positive result for the community.
“When we met with the students in the summer, we presented the project and they had to come up with all the details, themselves, on how to do it,” said Walter Hrycenko, a district supervisor who oversees the science department.
Hrycenko said the students came up with their own plan to collect wastepaper so it could be recycled, but went a significant step further by developing formulas that could calculate how their project would have an impact on the environment.
While the STEM academy students were busy crunching the numbers, English students handled announcements to the school community about the program while other students designed blue recycling bins.
The results were impressive: over five months, the program collected 8,406 pounds of paper from BTHS and 4,734 from BMHS, for a total of 13,140 pounds. That much paper equates to 157 trees saved, the students’ formula showed.
The formula also showed how much carbon dioxide – the substance widely believed the affect climate change – was removed from the atmosphere. At BTHS, 2,204 kilograms of CO2 was absorbed which, in turn, helped save 11,916 kilos from later being released due to the number of trees saved. At BMHS, 1,237 kilos were absorbed and 6,690 kilos were prevented from being released.
Hrycenko said staff will meet over the summer to discuss continuing the program for the upcoming 2017-18 school year.
“We definitely want to keep the recycling going because it’s saving a lot of trees,” he said.