LINCOLN -- Drew Middle School is going through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) accreditation and the goal is to make every lesson meaningful with an emphasis on these fields and the engineering design process.

“We are trying to help students become more aware of jobs in these fields while supporting our content standards,” said Lane Kulovitz, library media specialist. “Our seventh-grade students have taken on the Geochallenge titled ‘Plastic Pollution.’”

A Geochallenge is an annual themed and standards-based competition from the National Geographic Society. This particular competition addresses the urgent issue of plastic pollution in our waterways, the source to sea journey of water and plastic pollution in your community, and human-supported solutions that can prevent plastics from getting to the ocean. The project spans the school’s entire seventh grade in every subject area.

For example, students in science are researching the science components of this challenge, understanding the global and ecological impact of plastic pollution and how this interrupts the delicate food webs of many ecosystems. Geography classes are learning about maps, the topography of local watersheds, and how the currents of the oceans circulate. Math classes are calculating the output of human plastic pollution and population impact on a global scale. The English department is completing a book study about global pollution and the history of plastic as it relates to human progression. The agriscience department has is building a compost to teach the students about organic recycling and crop farming.

To help students become more aware of jobs in these STEM-related fields, Choccolocco Watershed representatives spoke recently to the students, focusing on the impact of pollution on local watersheds. This helped students understand the problem at a local level.

“Our students are working hard to bring awareness to the importance of recycling and are doing their part to make a big difference in not only their community but in the world …” Kulovitz said.