May 23, 2017
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.