Students at Irmo Middle School (Colombia, South Carolina, USA) are putting science into action and giving back to others by providing cost-free energy to those in need and recycling valuable resources all with one project.
Liter of Light, which was established in 2011, allows people to turn their discarded plastic bottles into bulbs. School leaders said this global initiative fit in perfectly with Irmo Middle’s new International Academic Magnet school theme and its new Expeditionary Learning model, both of which are designed to encourage students to think globally and engage in service projects.
“We want our students to be actively engaged in learning and thinking of ways to better the world around them. Liter of Light helps us do that,” said Irmo Middle Principal Robert Jackson.
Students this year have taken plastic bottles, filled them with bleach water and lined them with metal plating. When the “bulbs” are fastened into holes in the roof, they can refract the sun’s ray and emit about 55 watts of light.
Bulbs are being used today in impoverished areas of the Philippines, India, Indonesia and Switzerland.
Having their eyes opened to new ways to use everyday items isn’t the only thing the kids have realized.
Science teacher Cheryl Harrison chose Liter of Light believing that students will remember participating in the project long after they’ve made their last bulb.
“I didn’t want it to be something that they did but had no meaning behind it when it was over,” Harrison said. “I partnered with Ms. (Sandra) Jensen, a math teacher here at the school, and we decided on the Liter of Light project. This is something that is truly beneficial, serves the community and connects to the international theme of our magnet program. Our students have gained so much from this project.”
Bulbs created by Irmo Middle students will be distributed in May through Habitat for Humanity.