A Day at Bondi’s Island, operated at the Springfield Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, provides instruction in physical, earth and life sciences, as well as the technology and engineering design process. The workshop, funded for the past ten years by SUEZ Water Environmental Services, Inc. through the World Is Our Classroom and operated in collaboration with the Springfield Public Schools and the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission, serves more than 1,800 fifth grade students per year.
During five hours at the site, students tour the facility and receive instruction that follows the Massachusetts Science Curriculum Framework. The program is highly interactive, and includes a variety of activities designed to engage students’ energy, interest and intelligence. Some of the activities include:
- Molecules in Motion, a physical science instruction program
- The Water Cycle Game, an earth science education tool
- Microscope Operation, an activity designed to teach life sciences and help students identify and study micro-organisms
- Scavenger Hunt, a game designed to teach students about the makeup and operation of technological machinery
- Design Challenge, an engineering design exercise in which students are given the task of creating a wastewater treatment plan
The activities are designed to demonstrate to students the relevance of science education, as well as to make scientific and technological learning fun. Overall, the program blends inquiry, problem solving and group decision-making experiences to sharpen students’ analytical and creative thinking abilities. More broadly, it fosters interest in careers in science, technology and water-related industries, especially among girls and minorities who have been underrepresented in those fields.