Roma ISD students building their Hydro Power Rocket Cars. Photo by: Ramon Perez
Written by: Frida Ibarra
The incredibly hot summer of 2023 was a strong indicator of the increasing impact of climate change. Throughout June, July, and August, temperatures reached all-time highs, making it the hottest three-month period ever recorded. July, in particular, stood out as the hottest month not only for that year but in the entire history of climate records. 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, rising sea levels, and the loss of various species in the world today.
This summer, Roma Independent School District in partnership with the College 1st Program, was able to conduct an Earth Science CAMP to bring student awareness to the challenges that our environment is facing. In order to help the students understand the effects of the issues that the Earth is currently facing, they were first given an overview of the 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 in our planet.
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 overall motivated to create the solutions that they want 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 building their 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 specifically focused on hydropower as a method of sustainable energy production. Hydropower is one of the oldest sources for the production of electricity generation. 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. Students were able to experience the power of water as a renewable energy source with some Hydro Power Rocket cars.
Roma ISD students gathered around to race their Hydro Power Rocket Cars. Photo by: Ramon Perez
With 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.
Roma ISD students setting up their Hydro Power Rocket Car. Photo by: Ramon Perez
In the end, while students were faced with the issues our planet faces today, they also left with the motivation to be a part of the solution to those issues. 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 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 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 call 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.