Chemistry students in Liberty experimenting with ice melt project for public use

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LIBERTY, Mo. -- The potential of snowfall looks like an opportunity to learn. That's the vision of teachers at one Clay County high school, where students will aid public workers in finding the best ways to melt ice and snow.

Safer city streets could grow from that high school's hallways. Chemistry students at Liberty High School will soon begin experiments that will provide Liberty Public Works officials with data on melting ice and snow.

Chemistry teachers Stuart Jorgensen and Todd McDonald will lead the research with students as they experiment with various kinds of road salt and beet juice solutions to help find effective methods.

It's lab lessons like these that will render the data students need.

"One of the main goals is for students to make a connection," McDonald said. "What they do in our classroom really applies to their everyday life."

"We have beet juice," Jorgensen said. "We have Beet Heat. We have Beet 55 and Husker Plus and regular road salt. What this will let us do is to test a wide variety."

The project was born when Liberty Public Works directors connected with school district leaders. The city's public workers have already been using beet juice solutions, as well as traditional salt, to pre-treat streets.

Students in the school's chemistry classes say potential use of their data makes classwork come to life.

"It's a great idea," Liberty High student Aaron Burson said. "It's a good way to help the community. It could potentially be a good learning device for the students, too."

"Doing some of these for the city really helps us understand that what we're doing now applies to real life and it will help us later on," Libety High student Emma Kern said.

Jorgensen and McDonald say they're not sure how the city will actually apply their data. Students FOX 4 spoke with say they're excited just to play such a positive role in their community.

The school's experiments will begin in late February, and the data will be delivered to public works officials afterwards.

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