Using an Abundant Aquatic Resource to Fuel Science Education

May 27, 2009

The RAC-CEMS is proud to present a fantastic opportunity for Science teachers to learn about a new way to use Zebra Mussels in an exciting, discovery based lesson for high school students.  This is an excellent opportunity to enhance your Living Environments, Environmental Science or Chemistry course.

Zebra Mussels covering a fat mucket (Lampsilis siliquoidea) - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Zebra Mussels covering a fat mucket (Lampsilis siliquoidea) – Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Although zebra mussels have caused numerous problems in our water ways, these organisms actually can be an excellent tool to teach a variety of science and mathematics skills.  High school science teachers will learn how to easily collect, maintain and use these abundant aquatic organisms in a variety of hands-on scientific experiments and quantitative modeling exercises.  The activities are designed to promote inquiry-based learning, teach and strengthen students’ scientific research and mathematical analysis skills, and demonstrate to the students their relationship with their environment.  Activities will include the collection of mussels, the design and completion of hypothesis-driven quantitative experiments, and the integration of the field and experimental data into mathematical models detailing the effects of Zebra Mussels on the ecosystem.

The event will be hosted at Keuka College from July 27-31st  of 2009.  Seating is limited so sign up today!

Click on ApplyNow and remember to select Using Zebra Mussels for Good, Not Evil: Hands-on Experiments and Modeling Activities

Race Car Made From Vegetables And Runs On Chocolate

May 13, 2009


Last week, Warwick University in England unveiled its 95% biodegradable race car that runs on chocolate. It has been made entirely of sustainable and renewable materials including vegetables!

The idea of using chocolate as biodiesel is not new as the team that drove across Europe and West Africa on 2007 demonstrated (Journey across Europe to Timbuktu, Chocolate Powered Truck). But the University of Warwick took it many steps further. “While the main focus of car manufacturers has been decreasing engine emissions, the University of Warwick team broadened their vision to include the raw materials used to build the car, as well considering its final disposal” (Chocolate Powered Car). “The project clearly demonstrates that automotive environmentalism can and should be about the whole package” (Chocolate Powered Racing Car…).


steering wheel carrots
seat flax fiber shell, soy bean and recycled polyester
mirrors potato starch
brake pads ground cashew nut shells
body potato starch, recycled carbon fiber, recycled plastic bottles
lubricants plant oils
biodiesel cocoa butter (a waste product from making chocolate) turned into bio-ethanol and mixed with vegetable oil to make biodiesel

The car is expected to go 145 mph and 125 mph around corners. It took more than nine months to develop it and the cost was around USD$227,000.

Project Director, James Meredith, said “The WorldFirst project expels the myth that performance needs to be compromised when developing the sustainable motor vehicles of the future” (Chocolate Powered Racing Car…). He also mentioned that the team plans to use similar techniques to build other vehicles, such as road cars and boats (TG Daily).

Will there be enough chocolate waste to power these vehicles?

It seems that the world will need many sources to produce the biodiesel that vehicles being developed will need. This is all very exiting and I can’t wait to see it all unfold.

For more information, watch the video: