Think Before You Drink: Water Quality in the Animas River Watershed
The entire process of the project and exhibition taught me a lot. The actual research gave me a new understanding of what hydration really is. I now know not just water is necessary for hydration but also the concentration of sodium and potassium that maintain the fluid balance between the cell and its extracellular fluid. I also learned about three different types of solutions that can occur in the body based on solute concentration: isotonic, hypertonic and hypotonic. Isotonic being the same concentration both in and out of the cell, and hypotonic, being less solutes concentration in the cell than outside and lastly hypertonic which is more solute concentration in the cell than out. The information I gathered in researching lead to my conclusion that the average person or workout doesn't need extra electrolytes from sports drinks to function at full potential. At the exhibition I also learned even more from the audience. One takeaway was coke has so much sugar in it that they had to add an acid to dissolve it all. That if you were to put the amount of sugar that's in coke in with the rest of the ingredients the sugar would not dissolve. Gross!
After talking with Steve I got more clarity on that the acid is actually added to balance out the excessive amounts of sugar that people would not drink alone. Still gross but not exactly true in that the sugar wouldn't dissolve. This information could enhance our project by adding taste. If we were to add samples of the coke ingredients without phosphoric acid to show people literally with more than one sense that it is gross. I liked the this kind of learning and I think I have a very good understanding of my topic. I am happy with the conclusion we drew so far but as for all things it could be improved through more research and talking to people as proven even at the exhibition.
I learned a lot during the process that led up to the exhibition but a few skills I think improved me as a person was the important skill of fact checking, and time management. When I started this process the research I did was hard because there were websites out there that were bias to a product they were selling. I learned here to check the credibility of a website because the marketing of many sports drinks products as I have found out from credible sources, bend the truth. Another case of this was at the actual exhibition where a member of the audience told me a fact and as I told Steve my chemistry teacher he did not believe me. Most importantly he backed up his claim with tangible evidence that proved he was right. He showed me the solubility level of glucose on a graph and i concluded against my previous understanding. Once again the importance of fact checking kept me credible.
Another piece that was very prevalent especially in this project was time management. I usually lack in this category, but because I had this idea for long before the project began, by the time exhibition came I felt prepared and ready to teach people what I learned. Because this is not usually the case my idea for growing as a person and on future projects is to brainstorm my thoughts as early as possible. The reason for this is I always procrastinate until I get an idea I really enjoy. I thrive in the process of learning about things I care about. If I brainstorm early and find the idea that will give me the most motivation and drive projects will go a lot smoother and faster for me like this one did.
Our class began learning about water quality through a lab testing the ions in our own water samples. My biggest question was what these ions did to our bodies when we drank them. When I noticed that powerade also had added ions my curiosity grew. I pitched the idea of a project seeing what the ions (electrolytes) in sports drinks did to our bodies and if we needed them to my friends who agreed to work with me and find out. I believe it is a prevalent topics because of the amount of misconception and societal problems out there in this topic. I also think water quality is important almost for the same reason. Many people that don't know about the quality of our water and the process water goes through. Without knowing things like this one cannot make this world the best world it can be. As an 11th grade chemistry class this is the best time to learn about this because we are the future and we are in a time that so desperately needs educated people on topics that involve the quality of our earth and in my projects case health of our bodies.