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  • Writer's pictureCollege 1st Program

Earth Science CAMP Inspires Roma ISD Students To Become Environmental Advocates

October 25, 2023

Roma ISD students use hydraulic energy to launch the rocket cars they built as a team in an exciting net zero race. Photo by: Ramon Perez. Written by: Frida Ibarra


Summer temperatures reached an all-time high, making it the hottest summer ever recorded, a strong indicator of the increasing impact of climate change. This summer smashed the record for the hottest period in Earth’s recent history, spiking to a remarkable 1.25 degrees Celsius (2.25 ℉) above the 20th-century average, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information reported. What was once a distant concern, climate change, is now affecting our lives directly. We can already see its effects, like extremely high temperatures, severe weather events, more droughts, and rising sea levels. 


Roma Independent School District, working in partnership with the College 1st Program, developed an initiative to implement an Earth Science CAMP to bring student awareness to the challenges that our environment is facing. Students received information on different fields of natural science, such as geology, meteorology, oceanography, and astronomy. Additionally, the students also reviewed different natural disasters and their causes, as well as the different ecosystems on our planet, and the effects of climate change.


According to NASA, scientists predict the temperature will continue to rise due to many factors, but especially greenhouse gases produced by human activities. In fact, human emissions have already warmed the planet by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit and the average global temperature is expected to reach 3 degrees Fahrenheit within the next few years. This temperature rise will have catastrophic effects. The global sea level that has risen 8 inches since 1880 and is expected to rise another foot, causing more floods and sinking of cities along the coastlines. According to NetZeroClimate.org, scientists have agreed internationally that human-caused emissions need to drop by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 in order to prevent the irreversible climate changes.  


With this newfound knowledge, students were encouraged to use their critical thinking skills to create innovative solutions for the betterment of our planet. Some students chose to address natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, with inventions designed to assist the general population. Others directed their inventive spirit toward tackling environmental issues like pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The students were motivated to create the solutions that they wanted to see in the future.


“I think this is a great opportunity for kids to learn about science…especially about how to save our planet and how we can make a difference in our planet,” said Gilberto Maldonado, a Roma ISD student.


Roma ISD students use their creative and critical thinking skills to build their revolutionary environmental invention. Photo by: Ramon Perez


Although climate change is a real and concerning issue, the students were made aware of the solutions that they can take as individuals and as a community to help slow the effects of it.

Students learned about everyday solutions like walking or bike riding to reduce greenhouse gasses as well as conserving energy such as heat and electricity that are powered by coal, oil, and gas. They also were introduced to renewable resources like solar, wind, and water power that help produce energy in a clean way.


Students learned about hydropower as a method of sustainable energy production. Hydro energy is one of the oldest sources for the production of electricity. In 2022, 6.2% of the total U.S. utility-scale electricity generation and 28.7% of the total utility-scale for renewable electricity generation was hydroelectricity, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Students were able to experience the power of water as a renewable energy source for their Hydro Power Rocket cars. 


Although their cars were powered by hydraulic power, the nation is looking towards electric vehicles to reduce the level of greenhouse gases. According to the United States Environmental protection Agency, although the electricity used to charge electric vehicles may cause carbon pollution, electric vehicles have no tailpipe emissions and research shows that they have overall lower carbon emissions than gasoline cars. While electric vehicles are not the full solution to the climate crisis on their own, they are a step towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050. 


Roma ISD students use their communication and critical thinking skills to work in teams to build a Hydro Power Rocket Car for the race competition. Photo by: Ivan Aguillon


With the provided materials, students engaged their creativity, assembling cars powered by water. They collaborated in teams to design the swiftest rocket car models, utilizing water and air pressure to propel them forward. These vehicles underwent rigorous testing as students competed for the first-place title.


“I learned about how you can use water for a lot of things, and I learned about global warming, and I learned about how to help my planet,” stated Pedro Serna, a Roma ISD student.


A group of Roma ISD students added the final touches to the Hydro Power Rocket Car that they built for the final race. Photo by: Ramon Perez


In the end, while students were faced with the challenges our planet faces today, they also left with the motivation to be a part of the solution to those challenges. They were even provided with a list of careers that encouraged their passion for saving the earth.


“My day was really fun and really exciting. I learned about exciting things about the earth and how the climate changes. I would love to explore college and different careers.” Said Itzel Garcia, a Roma ISD student. “Thank you, Roma ISD for guiding me in the right direction” Garcia concluded.


All College 1st CAMPs can be customized to include Reading and Writing (ELA), Math, Science, and Social Studies State Test Standards at the Elementary, Middle School, and High School Level.


For more information about Roma ISD, please contact them at 956-849-1377 or visit their website at https://www.romaisd.com. College 1st is a joint initiative implemented in partnership with visionary leaders from school districts, education service centers, and post-secondary institutions across the State of Texas to empower students for college, career, and life success. For more details about the program, please visit our website at www.College1st.org or call us at 1-877-499-8544.


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