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PAA Science Students Help to Solve Water Issues World-Wide

Learning doesn't stop at PAA - even for summer break.

Portland Adventist Academy teacher, Frank Jin has a passion for science and a heart for mission. He wants to see his students’ education being put to practical and meaningful use. So he challenged his freshman Physical Science students to study and create solutions for the 783 million people in our world without easy access to clean and safe water.

Jin’s students spent the first quarter of school researching, planning, and building prototypes of water-moving devices. Since there are many kinds of these devices already being used in developing countries, they were asked to improve on the products.

Jin’s approach to teaching is part of PAA’s efforts to further incorporate Project Based Learning (PBL) and Mission Focused Learning (MFL) throughout its academic program.

“PBL is exciting because students get to see the real life importance of what they’re learning,” says Mechelle Peinado, PAA’s Vice Principal of Academics. “We see them owning their education and bringing critical thinking to a deeper level. They are creatively approaching real world challenges and working together to come up with meaningful solutions. And that’s exciting!”

You can see this excitement in the faces of four students who worked on a device they named the Wheel-Barrel. Not only did they drastically improve on the cost of similar water-rolling products, but their prototype was also light weight and easy to assemble and ship. The Wheel-Barrel also acts as its own container for all the moving parts. It’s efficient!

The project was meaningful, too. “A device like ours would be useless if it didn’t help to alleviate the water crisis in some way,” they shared in a presentation. Since Women and girls are responsible for water collection in seven out of ten homes in developing countries this means that girls miss school and opportunity for education. Women often carry 40 to 60 pounds of water on their head or their backs which cause health problems.

“We designed the Wheel-Barrel to help mitigate spinal damage on women and children and to increase children’s education time. This product can bring relief and better life to those people who have to perform a painful and necessary task.”

Although practical application is never guaranteed, Jin and his students want to see their hard work make a difference as they intended. They are sharing these projects with pastors, teachers, and church members who may be planning mission trips to countries that could benefit from their hard work.

The group who designed the Wheel-Barrel said that even a small church could easily raise the money for several barrels and assemble them in an afternoon. “Ultimately, it would be our dream to see these projects used in mission fields,” says Jin. “Mission Trip leaders or anyone interested in these solutions should contact me.”

You CAN contact Frank Jin. Call him at Portland Adventist Academy, 503.255.8372 or email him at,

Check out more of the projects!

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