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Third Annual Autobell® Car Wash Creek Challenge® Emphasizes Water Science, Quality

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The third annual Autobell® Car Wash Creek Challenge® took place at UNC-Charlotte on February 24, 2018, with teams from a dozen Charlotte-Mecklenburg elementary schools putting to the test their weeks of STEM-based curriculum focused on water science and quality, as well as the vitality of our local creek system.

Teams of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders undertook the specially developed curriculum that includes classroom and on-site creek education. Participating elementary schools were Lake Wylie, J.H. Gunn, Steele Creek, Irwin Academic Center, Cotswold IB World, Rama Road, Oakhurst STEAM Academy, Huntersville, Invest Collegiate, Renaissance West STEAM, Devonshire, and Lebanon Road.

The Irwin Academic Center team took first place overall in the competition, with Lake Wylie Elmentary placing second, followed by Steele Creek Elementary in third. [View and download a complete list of winners and event descriptions here and event photos here.]

Participating students displayed and demonstrated model water filters and three-dimensional watersheds they built; and were tested on knowledge of subjects such as the water cycle, aquatic plants and animals, and related vocabulary words.

A competition highlight is the Water Wizard Quiz Bowl, in which two-student teams from each school verbally answer questions. The duo from Lake Wylie Elementary placed first in that event.

Autobell® Car Wash owner and CEO Chuck Howard served as a Quiz Bowl quizzer and distributed prizes, handshakes, and congratulations to the winners of each event. Prizes included medals, gift cards, team trophies, and Apple® iPad® minis for the two Quiz Bowl champions. Charlotte Parent Magazine editor, Michele Huggins; WBTV meteorologist and Morning Break co-host Chris Larson; and Sharnelle Currence of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services also served as quizzers.

“Autobell® is very cognizant of water quality and conservation, which led us to develop the Creek Challenge®, because we know it is essential to educate and engage our youth about this most important resource,” Howard stated. “They are our future and can make a difference.”

In 2015, Autobell® proposed creating and funding the Creek Challenge® project as a follow-up to KEEPING WATCH on WATER: City of Creeks, part of a multiyear initiative from the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and the UNCC College of Arts + Architecture to draw attention to environmental topics.

The Center for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education at UNC Charlotte and the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute developed the curriculum and activities for the Autobell® Creek Challenge® in conjunction with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The inaugural competition took place in June 2016.

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