Models | Manson Northwest Webster High School

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Manson, IA

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Manson Northwest Webster students are examining and creating proactive measures to increase the longevity of Manson’s water supply through a cross-disciplinary project. About 5 years ago, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) directed Manson to begin searching for a new water source, and Mason’s location on top of a crater impact structure has complicated this search. Manson has unsuccessfully drilled 4 wells and spent $1.8 million dollars to find a new water source, in part because of the impact structure. Through several different STEM courses offered at Manson Northwest Webster, students are learning more about the crater to make informed decisions on how the community can be proactive in protecting Manson’s water supply. Students are also finding ways to educate the community on the measures that can be taken to conserve the water supply.

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How it Works

Extending the water conservation project across different disciplines to utilize students’ various skills, the water conservation team is working to communicate the current water supply concern, suggest tips on prolonging water supply, research the impact structure and water conservation measures, and provide the community with actual water collection barrels.

Web Design students are currently creating websites to raise awareness of the water shortage. Eventually to be included on the City of Manson’s website, each student-created site provides tips to conserve water on a daily basis in both small and large scale aspects.

Industrial Technology students are researching the different material, designs, and ideas to create a water collection system. Students have found that treated material will withstand the climate of Iowa, and a rain barrel made of a specific plastic is best to store the rain.

Consumer Math students are discussing costs associated with living in a home, including the water bill, as well as the amount saved by using naturally occurring soft water in the community rather than a water softener system. As more information is gathered, students will calculate the lifespan of the city’s wells.

Earth Science students are modeling the Manson Impact Structure and investigating the impact it has on the community. Additionally, they have researched ways of educating students and the community on ways to conserve water.

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Manson Northwest Webster High School’s goal is to educate students and the community about the current Mason water problem and proactive measures for increasing the longevity of Manson’s water supply.

The students’ efforts are aimed at constructing rain collection barrels for the community, learning more about the implications of the Mason Impact Crater on water supply through collaboration with community members, and educating the public about water conservation, especially through their completed websites listed on the City of Manson website.

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Population Targeted

The team aims to impact the entire community of Manson through its water conservation efforts. The hope is to inspire all ages, from elementary students to senior citizens, to make a conscious effort to conserve water in their everyday lives.

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Customer Discovery

Student Surveys

The student team created a four-question survey about interest in water conservation, which was distributed to 4th through 12th grade students, school employees, and school board members. After a week of collecting responses, 158 individuals filled out the survey. Overall, most individuals know to turn off water when not using it, yet, only half save water by taking shorter showers or baths and using refillable water bottles. In terms of water conservation, 58% of responders think about protecting water environments and only 28% consider reusing water.

The surveys also indicated some individuals were unaware of the water supply issue, the implications of the Impact Crater on the community, and the importance of  water conservation. Following the interviews, the team gained valuable insight for the need to educate community members about the city’s current issue and community members’ roles in water conservation.

Community Interviews

With guidance from project instructors, students conducted interviews with various community members, including a Manson City council member, a Grade 2 Water Technician, and school administrators, such as the High school Principle and District Superintendent.

From these interviews, students gained insight on the well digging process, severity of the current water situation, well and water conservation information, financial implications for the community, and current plans to approach water shortage. Students also learned about financial implications for their school, previous Manson Crater education throughout curriculum, and benefits of STEM and Innovation on education in the Manson Northwest Webster School District.

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Key Partners

MNW Administration: Mark Egli, Superintendent; Kevin Wood, 7­-12 Principal; Justin Daggett, K­-6 Principal; Laura Horan, Curriculum Coordinator

MNW School District:Current parents and students of the MNW school district

Josh Sturgis, President, Manson Chamber of Commerce

Jeff Kirchoff, ­ Grade 2 Water Technician and Manson resident

Joe Horan,­ Manson City Council Member

Ethan Joy, Current Engineer assisting with well

Raymond Anderson, Geologist, Retired from Iowa State University

Ryan Clark, Geologist, Iowa State University

Keith Hindman, Web Developer/Co-­owner Metro Studios

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Successes to Date

Obtaining Administrative Buy-In

Excited about the direction of the project, administration is supporting the water conservation project and has agreed to assist in any way they can. The entire school district is also currently exploring the STEM professional development model that the project is utilizing during the current school year.

Creating a Water Conservation Website

Students have created a first draft of water conservation web sites.  They are currently awaiting input from some of their community partners for changes and possible improvements. The final goal will be to have one or more of the sites displayed on the Manson, Iowa website:

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Sustainability Plan


Each barrel constructed will cost about $60 to construct.

Growth of Program

The education of water conservation will continue through the drilling of the next well.

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