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Saving Mother Earth
by Dr. Cheryl Long Feather, United Tribes Research Director
26 October 2009

BISMARCK (UTN) - Wondering if teaching a room full of teenagers how to make fuel was a wise thing, several teachers nevertheless forged forward to teach ten Bismarck High School students about methanol fuel cells.


Making alternative fuel at Sunday Academy. United Tribes News photo Cheryl Long Feather

      The second Sunday Academy program was held on October 18 at the Skill Center on the United Tribes campus.

      Students began by discussing the need to find alternative fuels because of the depletion of petroleum, and the relationship between the science of finding alternative fuels and Native cultural beliefs about protecting and caring for Mother Earth.

      Students then put on their amateur chemist hats and formulated their own solutions of methanol fuel using a simple stoichiometric method. They then measured the voltage for each solution. Methanol fuel is one idea for alternative liquid fuels.


Making alternative fuel at Sunday Academy. United Tribes News photo Cheryl Long Feather

      In addition to the bigger picture about alternative fuels, students also learned basic chemistry concepts such as measuring moles, molar mass, density, molarity and plotting data.

      One student commented, I liked the activity. It was fun. It was somewhat of a challenge, which made it fun. Said another, I felt like a real scientist!

      Participating students were Billy Benson, Tyler Cadotte, Alexaundria Cadotte, Sabrina Dragswolf, Gabriella Dubois, Miranda Joshua, Xavier Little Owl, Zac McLaughlin, Ryan Netterville, and Rex Red Bird.

      Participating high school faculty/staff were Joel Just, Bismarck High School math teacher, and Karla Davis, Bismarck Public Schools Parent Liaison.


Making alternative fuel at Sunday Academy. United Tribes News photo Cheryl Long Feather

      NDSU presenting faculty were Uwe Burghaus and Mallikharjuna Rao Komarneni.

      The next Sunday Academy is set for November 15. The program is open to any Native American students grades 9-12.

      For more information or to sign up, contact me, Cheryl Long Feather, Research Director, (701) 255-3285 x 1491; clongfeather@uttc.edu.