Students of Detroit Community Schools in Detroit’s Brightmoor neighborhood were faced with a challenge. All across the city, as well as in their own neighborhoods, the water was getting shut off – leaving residents to collect rain water from roofs using rain barrels. However, the water was not safe for drinking.

The students, guided by their teacher Bart Eddy and a team from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, looked for solutions.

The students have been converting industrial tricycles that transport water purification units to residents who have had their water shut off. The Water Cycler units run on solar power to purify the water collected in the rain barrels. As part of the Water Cyclers project, Creative Change Educational Solutions (CCES) is linking together the real-world experience with classroom content through a well-developed curriculum.

This curriculum will help students address issues surrounding climate change, and will all be woven into the youth employment and leadership.

– Bart Eddy, Educator

We have united the different parts of the project, showing how science, sustainability, and social justice are connected. Through their work and our framework of lessons, students are learning not just what it means to be part of a community where we help each other, but also hands-on skills to convert the bikes, teamwork, leadership among peers, creativity, the science behind the Cycler units, and the importance of local and global sustainability.

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