Village Students' Challenge to Reduce Flooding in Houston
When I first became a student at The Village School, one of the first things I noticed about our students is our innate ability to solve problems efficiently and effectively. The Village School takes pride in this quality in our students. So, when Nord Anglia Education presented Village with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Challenge, we jumped right in. There are 13 inaugural Nord Anglia schools participated in a challenge released by MIT. It was a three-part challenge: What are you curious about, find data and research to back up your curiosity and find a solution.
Since our school is in Houston, the students collaborated with multiple city officials. The students determined that Houston’s biggest concern is flooding. To counteract this problem, the students and staff of Village have come together to help their city and pay it forward. They came up with four main points to express to the public to help reduce flooding damage.
Gray to Green. Plant more trees.
The first plan we came up with was to plant more trees. The students connected with Trees for Houston, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserve and planting trees, to help them come up with a plan of action. We also connected with our parent association, Village School Parent Association to help with tree donations. Trees for Houston’s Executive Director Barry Ward will help coordinate an event that Village will be a part of, where 200 Village students will plant trees.
Unclog sewerage. Do not throw trash into drainage.
The second initiative was to look at the sewerage of Houston. One of the main reasons Houston floods so intensely is due to our waste disposal tendencies. When we throw trash down the drains, it clogs up the sewerage and prevents the water from draining correctly. This causes build up and, well, flooding. To help prevent this, the students are planning on collaborating with local TV and radio stations to help spread this message. We are gathering a group of elementary school kids to make the message more fun.
Reduce the drain. Harvest the rain!
Did you know that in some areas of Houston, harvesting rainwater is prohibited? Certain Homeowners Associations prevent residents from harvesting the rain that falls on their roof or in their yard. If people were allowed to and started harvesting their rain in a proper way, gallons of water would saved and put to good use. To help counteract the Homeowners Associations, the Village social science students are proposing a city ordinance on commercial, industrial, and residential rainwater harvesting.
Be alert! Aware of warnings, good mornings!
Have you ever gotten in the car in the morning and ran into unexpected traffic? It’s pretty frustrating. When it rains heavily, the traffic heightens. In serious cases, if you are the first car to the water, there is a potential of death. It only takes 10-12 inches of flowing water to sweep a car away. To help offset this, the middle school technology class is developing a phone app to inform Houstonians of real time water levels on flood-prone roads and streets in the Houston area. They are also collaborating with the high school creative tech club who are building a sensor to determine water levels. This sensor will then connect back to the app and give live data reports.
At Village, we want to help our surrounding area. We love our community and the Houston area and want to do as much as we can to make it a better place.
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