Amanda Ripa, a 7/8 science teacher at Messalonskee Middle School in Oakland, ME has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Gustav Ohaus Award. The award has been presented annually since 1969 to recognize innovations which have the potential to improve science teaching at the elementary, middle, or high school level.
Ms. Ripa was selected for her "Power Plants" submission that uses Problem Based Learning and empowers students to address an environmental need in their own community. Challenging her students to research and develop an environmentally friendly and cost effective method to remediate polluted water bodies, Ms. Ripa's project is student-driven, authentic, cross curricular, and timely.
According to Ripa, the "Power Plants" project has spanned over two school years involving over 160 students from 7th
grade and has culminated in the design and installation of two engineered floating islands located in the school's storm water retention pond. The pond is to serve as a filter for storm water runoff but has been found to be stagnant and overrun with algae. It is not effective at removing pollution before it travels downstream into the forest and groundwater. With the floating islands installed and growing in the pond, Ripa now empowers her students to be involved in regular maintenance of equipment, replanting and monitoring the quality of the water to measure the effectiveness of the islands. She envisions future students taking ownership of the project, improving designs and continuing the monitoring of water quality in the pond.
As part of the award, Ripa has received a personalized Gustav Ohaus Award, a $1,500 cash prize and a trip to the 2018 National Conference of the National Science Teachers in Atlanta, GA. Messalonskee Middle School is also the recipient of $1,000 worth of OHAUS equipment, which will be utilized in various science courses.
To read Ms. Ripa's entire submission, click here