Decomposition and energy: students showcase 21st century skills
May 6, 2017
Innovation for the Future Scholarships
The winners of this year’s Innovation for the Future Scholarship were announced during the opening ceremonies for the Innovative Learners Showcase.
Although the $500 scholarships are typically awarded to three Windsor High School students, Superintendent Dan Seegmiller said two students tied for third place after the 2017 judging and will split the third $500 scholarship.
Freshman Hollie Maddocks came in first place, senior Trent Dilka in second and senior Jordan Newport and sophomore Ryan Whitehead tied for third.
The faint smell of decomposing potato, blueberries and onion wafted from the table where Mountain View Elementary fourth-grader Warren Moore showcased his 21st century skills Thursday night.
Moore taught all who stopped at his Innovative Learners Showcase display, "Renewable Energy From Trash" in Severance Middle School, how decomposing food can be converted into energy.
While preparing for his display, Moore placed different foods in plastic bottles with balloons attached to the tops to capture what gasses were released during decomposition.
Moore said he enjoyed the project after he discovered how much fun he could have.
"I got to fill up bottles with chopped up stuff and then watch it decompose, and I'm like, 'Yes, please,' " he said.
The project was part of the Weld RE-4 School District's annual Innovative Learners Showcase, which featured the projects of students at schools throughout the district.
Almost 200 students from all the district's schools showcased their knowledge.
Sheila Bowman, an instructional technology specialist and organizer of the event, said the showcase allowed students to demonstrate what they have learned.
"Communication, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity — those are what we're looking for the kids to learn, and I think tonight exhibits all of those," Bowman said.
Moore said he was surprised at first to learn about 25 percent of global warming was caused by methane, and even more surprised when he learned how much energy the decomposing food in his bottles could produce.
"These bottles actually have enough to power a house," he said.
That's with one caveat: the gasses produced from his project would need to go through a conversion process, Moore said.
"So it doesn't blow up your house," he said.
Someday, Moore said, he might learn how to power homes using only gas from decomposed food.