On May 8th two members of MnAFPM participated in the “Explore Engineering!” event at Rice Lake Elementary School in Circle Pines. The event, sponsored by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Post of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), gave K-5 kids and their parents an opportunity to learn more about a variety of science, technology, engineering, and math topics. The University of Minnesota Robotics team and local middle and high school robotics teams showed their off their robots, and there were hands-on activities on a number of topics including friction, magnetism, engineering, and more.
Using a WARD's Stormwater Floodplain Simulation System, MnAFPM members Lee Rosen and Lisa Buchli gave a hands-on demonstration of how floodplains and development within a watershed can impact stormwater runoff and flooding throughout a community. The students were given toy houses and were allowed to “build” their house anywhere within the simulation system. Water was then routed through the system and the students learned how changes to the watershed changed the flooding impacts on their homes. The students saw how changing an undeveloped “wetland” (sponges) to a commercial parking lot dramatically increased downstream flooding (and sent some of their houses into the river!). Then they observed how adding a stormwater pond to store parking lot runoff and discharge it in a more controlled way helped to keep their homes dry during the next storm event.
The students were very enthusiastic and especially enjoyed the interactive nature of the demonstration. They were also excited to keep their eyes peeled for stormwater ponds and other ways that stormwater runoff is being managed throughout their community. Thanks to SAME for including MnAFPM in this event, and thanks to Lee and Lisa for volunteering!