LL-H students contribute to Whiz Kids’ sand project

Joshua Vissers/Daily Mining Gazette Whiz Kid Siona Beaudoin helps fifth-grade students from Lake Linden-Hubbell Elementary place school logos on top of their paperweights.

LAKE LINDEN — Working with the Whiz Kids, fifth graders at Lake Linden-Hubbell Elementary School made concrete paperweights with stamp sand as a principal component on Tuesday. The Whiz Kids are an academic team from Lake Linden-Hubbell High School that have been competing in eCYBERMISSION, a web-based competition for sixth through ninth graders.

Beau Hakala, Siona Beaudoin and Gabriel Poirier have participated for the last three years and are now in 10th grade, ineligible to compete in the next year’s competition. The three students were joined by 10th grader Katie Griffin and 12th grader Elijah Poirier, who are competing in the Lexus Eco Challenge as the Superior Remediators.

The teams’ focus has been on stamp sands, toxic refuse from copper mining in the 19th and 20th century, and what can be done with it to prevent it from spreading in the environment. One of their projects has been mixing stamp sand into concrete and pressure-tested at Michigan Technological University (MTU) with the help of faculty there. The concrete seals toxins into the stamp sand and acts as a fine aggregate in the concrete mix.

As a way to bring their discoveries to a young audience, the kids brought materials to the elementary school on Tuesday to show them what they have learned and help each of them make a paperweight with stamp sand concrete.

“Does anyone know what stamp sand is?” Beaudoin asked the fifth graders.

After explaining their earlier experiments and the origin of stamp sand, the high schoolers helped the fifth graders mix the concrete, fill and tamp forms made from milk cartons. Each carton is topped with a school logo designed and printed by the seventh-grade technology class at CLK Public Schools.

“This is something that has taken them far beyond school,” fifth-grade teacher Michelle Axford told the younger students.

The Whiz Kids have visited Washington, D.C., including a White House tour, funded by eCYBERMISSION. An extension to the trip was funded through the School Board and other fundraising.

The fifth graders were impressed.

The high school students worked with Lake Linden-Hubbell sixth graders on Monday and fifth graders in CLK Public Schools the week before. The CLK class had 3D-printed Kings logos rather rather than the Lakes logo.

The students hope to help every elementary class in the Lake-Linden-Hubbell district.

Nick Squires, who teaches seventh-, eighth- and 10th-grade science at Lake-Linden, said he thought it was a great way to build a connection between elementary and high school content, as well as the community at large.