Del Mar Hills changemakers hope to make a positive impact on earth’s climate

Makayla, Savvy, Mia and Elise show off their invention to turn polluted water into clean water. Dirty water goes through a filter and trash is recycled. Sensors help detect if a fish is swimming near it and play the sound of a fish’s predator to keep it from going in the machine.
Karen Billing

Del Mar Hills Academy fifth and sixth graders held an Exhibition of Learning on Nov. 30 to demonstrate to parents and guests what they have learned about human impacts on earth and the ways they can help ensure that the world continues to thrive.

Paula Intravaia, one of the district’s design engineers, said students were tasked with the design thinking challenge of how they could use their own personal strengths, passions and scientific understanding of the human impacts on the earth’s systems to add value to the world, to be a “positive changemaker.”

Students explain their invention to visiting adults. Karen Billing

Throughout the experience, students conducted research on topics such as air and ocean pollution, sea level rise, acid rain, deforestation, global warming, space junk and extreme weather that leads to wildfires, hurricanes and flooding. They collaborated and reflected with each other and brainstormed on how they might use their own strengths, values and interests to help—whether they were a musician or engineer, an animal lover or a surfer.

Visiting industry experts helped provide insight and feedback on the students’ project prototypes and the results were displayed at the exhibition—students created inventions that helped clean ocean water and to help animals and humans breathe clean air.

“We want to actually help change the world,” said Tori and Lily, who created an air filter.

One group created an Extreme Weather Dance Group to raise awareness through dance. Student Misha created a video game. After playing a round of Misha’s video game, in which players attempt to stop sea change and put out wildfires, an impactful message comes on the screen: “You lost, there are no restarts. We must stop this fate.”

Sophie, Leilah, Ella read their poem. Karen Billing

Students Sophie, Leilah and Ella wrote a poem.

“We believe that the earth should be beautiful, good and true for future generations. We will do this by sharing a poem,” the girls said. “This poem will help people understand that they are part of the problem and should be part of the solution.”

The girls took turns reading lines of their poem for exhibition attendees, coming together in unison for the final stanza: “The world you know is dying, no matter how hard we keep trying Mother earth is crying, she just keeps frying, because of humankind.”

Tori and Lily explain how their air filter works. Karen Billing
Tori and Lily explain how
"We want to actually help change the world," the girls said. Karen Billing