Now this is a great example of how students should be learning science.

If everything goes according to plan in a Governor Dummer Academy class this fall, a green 1991 Mercedes Benz will gain some new attributes, including a switch that allows the car to run on vegetable oil and exhaust fumes that smell like fish sticks, french fries, or chicken fingers from the boarding school’s cafeteria.

The eight students in teacher Peter Kazarinoff’s 10th-grade chemistry class are transforming the donated Mercedes 350 into a veggie car. Drivers across the country, albeit in small numbers, have been adding vegetable oil conversion switches to their cars to cut back on sooty emission and save cash, according to the American Automobile Association. By using the converters, they don’t have to buy as much diesel fuel for the Mercedes.

Last year students had poor grades in math and science. But instead of using drill and rote memorization to boost test scores, the teacher came up with this project. The knowledge these kids picked up during this project – about Chemistry and more – will stay with them a lot longer than anything on a standardized test.

education, chemistry, project-based learning