Chandler 6th Grade eCYBERMISSION Team Places 2nd in California
"Green roofs are a natural way to help combat climate change", says sixth-grader Hudson, "they are vital in densely concentrated areas like Los Angeles, where development and other surfaces absorb and retain heat."
The team consisting of all sixth-graders Anais Escudero '24, Ashley Sakonju '24, and Hudson Shen '24 placed second in California in this year's eCYBERMISSION. This organization is a web-based science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) competition for students in grades six through nine. Students are challenged to work in teams to identify a problem in their community to explore using scientific practices and/or solve with engineering design.
As the sixth graders explain, the green roof is a layer of vegetation placed on top of a flat-surfaced roof. These extensive green roofs contain plants that go no more than four inches off the ground (intensive green roofs can have shrubbery and trees!). The components they designed feature root barriers, a drainage system, a growing medium to supply nutrients to the plants, and a membrane used to make a green roof waterproof.
The sixth-grade team chose this project because of its benefit to the environment. There are many benefits to green roofs that impact the community. These include:
The reduction of HVAC use because of the moderation of the temperature of the building below
The return of oxygen to the atmosphere as a byproduct of photosynthesis of the plants on a green roof
The extension of roof life, as the vegetation provides barriers to elements protecting the roof beneath
Increased biodiversity in urban areas, where insects, birds, and butterflies can live
Water retention in the soil, where soil holds rainwater that could otherwise carry oil, animal feces, trash, and harmful chemicals to the ocean
The reduction of the urban heat island effect that occurs when cities replace the natural land cover with pavement, buildings, and other surfaces that absorb heat
This year, with more than 50 Chandler students interested, the sixth-grade team was able to move forward with their experimentation. There were 1,893 submissions in the nation, making this Chandler team one of the standout projects in the competition. Impressed with the project, the judges shared that their ideas "should be used nationwide on any school with a flat roof."
The sixth graders are incredibly thankful to 8th Grade Science Teacher Ms. Arpa Ghazarian. They say, "She spent so many hours of her own free time helping us. From providing helpful resources to templates of emails to staying up late on weekends and weekdays alike, Ms. Ghazarian was so kind and thoughtful. She was the best guide through the whole eCYBERMISSION experience." Ms. Ghazarian says that she is proud of this team and Chandler middle schoolers for taking a strong interest in finding ways to improve the world through science.