Water Cycler trikes created by Detroit Community High School teacher Bart Eddy and high school students at the Brightmoor Maker Space are featured in an article on Getting Smart.
Place-based learning engages students in solving problems in their communities. In the Brightmoor neighborhood of northwest Detroit, one of the biggest problems is lack of water – ironic in a state surrounded by it. The issue resulted from a 2015 decision by the city to shut off water service to 23,300 Detroit homes in a crackdown on delinquent accounts. Brightmoor residents were left to collect water from their roofs using rain barrels, but the water was not safe for drinking. How’s that for a challenge for students to take on?
Enter teacher Bart Eddy and the high school students from Detroit Community High School at the Brightmoor Maker-Space, an afterschool and summer program that is focused on entrepreneurship, sustainability and social justice. Rather than let his students feel defeated by this situation, Bart wanted to help them find a solution. Using industrial tricycles donated by UAW Ford and the Ford Motor Company, Bart and his students applied science curriculum items to the real-world to develop mobile, solar-powered water purification units. The ‘Water Cycler’ trikes feature solar recharge capability and battery-powered pumps. Throughout the project, students collaborated with The Ross School of Business and The Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan, and also gained support from local foundations and community activists.