Welcome to our Wiki! This Wiki will provide you a glimpse of some of the projects of our Level II (senior) science students at Buckeye Hills Career Center, Rio Grande, Ohio

The first project we started is titled, "Wood Pellets". (see link on the left) This is a project inspired in two parts by a STEM workshop held at the Voinovich Leadership School at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. Teachers participating in the workshop encountered many new technologies and research projects in the areas of Energy, Environment, and Economics. The other inspiration came from a discussion with an instructor at Buckeye Hills Career Center about the waste material produced from the wood shop on site and another faculty member about his wood pellet stove. (The Eco-House at Ohio University has a wood pellet stove..... "amaizing heat corn furnace")

Wood pellets can be purchased locally to be used in wood pellet stoves. Pellet stoves have many environmental advantages. Pellets are made from sawdust from a variety of places and most do not use any additives. The sawdust contains a natural binder called Lignin. This substance can be found in all hardwoods and allows the particles of wood to stick together. High pressure and heat are the main components to produce wood pellets. Individual homeowners can purchase pellet mills to make their own pellets out of many different sources (wood, corn, alfalfa, sunflower, etc.) The type of pellet stove a person has determines the different types of pellets they can use.

Students are learning about green energy and some of the newer technologies that can be incorporated into their field of study.

The students in Mrs. Lewis' environmental class located in the building and trades academy at Buckeye Hills Career Center were given a design challenge.

  1. Students had to create a method of making wood pellets out of sawdust from our wood shop or from local wood shops in our area. (applying pressure is number 1 in all designs)
  2. Students had to create comparative questions to test on their pellets.
  3. Students had to create a combustion chamber to run tests on their wood pellets.

Pellet testing including the following, but not limited to:

  • flame or chamber temperature

  • burn time

  • ash (mass the pellet before burn and mass the ash after the burn)

  • levels of CO2 and O2: at the intake and/or the outtake

Comparative Questions:

  1. Which pellet has the most ash mass after burn, the fine sawdust or the coarse sawdust?
  2. Which pellet has the longest burn time, 1000 psi or 500 psi?
  3. Which pellet has the greatest flame temperature, 2000 psi or 1000 psi?
  4. Which pellet burns hotter, commercial or homemade?
  5. What kind of saw dust, fine or coarse will have the highest flame temperature?
  6. Which pellet, one without binder or one with binder will have the highest CO2 reading?
  7. Will the pellet held together with the wax burn longer that the pellet without wax?

See the Wood Pellet page for more photos and information.

The second project we started is titled, "Soap Making". (see link on the left) This is a project inspired in two parts by an Inquiry Action Project the teacher is doing through coursework at Miami (of Ohio) University's project Dragonfly and again by the STEM workshop held at the Voinovich Leadership School at Ohio University, Ohio.

Homemade soap recipes can be found online from a variety of websites. We chose to use those recipes calling for the cold press method. This method does not require cooking of the ingredients over an open fire. One of the main ingredients in homemade soap is Lye. (Remember Granny Clampett and her Lye Soap) Traditionally potash was used, but this is another step that we chose not to do.

The students in Mrs. Lewis' Level II science class located in the Health Academy at Buckeye Hills Career Center were given an inquiry challenge, "Can you make a homemade hard soap?"

  • Students will research cold process recipes for soap making that uses traditional lye (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide).
  • Students will create comparative questions to test their soap.
  • Students will follow proper safety protocol.
  • Students will make two different soaps with the least amount of variables as possible.
  • Students will test soap according to their research plan.
  • Students will share their results in a powerpoint/poster format.