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IB Y2 ESS Field Trip: Samsen Water Works

On the 30th of October, the IB Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) Year 2 class went on a field trip to the Samsen Water Works station in Bangkok for an off-campus learning experience. Our international students had a chance to make connections between the classroom and the real-world.

While studying Topic 4: Water and aquatic food production systems and societies of the ESS syllabus, the students visited the MWA’s (Metropolitan Waterworks Authority) water treatment plant at Samsen. Samsen was the first water treatment plant constructed since the reign of the King Chulalongkorn at Samsen Nai, in metropolitan Bangkok. With the capacity of a 550,000 cubic meter of water supply per day, the treatment plant extends 31 kilometers and serves water to people in Phayathai, Dusit, Pra Nakorn, and Ratchatevi.

The Museum at Samsen shows the history of the MWA from the time of King Rama XI and the dedication of the Thai government to provide clean water for the residents in Bangkok and surrounding districts.

From this experience, the students were able to observe where the water that we use everyday comes from, and how the MWA ensures the quality, hygiene, and cleanliness of the water. The engineers and staff from Samsen Water Works delivered a detailed presentation about the methods and process that the treatment plant takes to ensure the quality of water, and other statistics regarding the production of water in Samsen.

Presentation by MWA engineering experts followed by a Q&A session.

During the question and answer session following the presentation, students asked questions relating to the ESS topic material, issues arising in other places of the world due to water quality, or clarifications of misconceptions regarding the quality and safety of drinking tap water.

Throughout the day, students engaged directly with the material that they were learning in class and experienced the concepts for themselves. Furthermore, hearing from an expert’s point of view on the issues regarding water quality widened the students’ spectrum of knowledge and understanding. Particularly, observing the filtration in one of the water purification machines fascinated the students and deepened their personal interest in water quality, and the work done at the water treatment plants.

Mr. Ton guided students on a tour of the water treatment plants, where students saw the filtration process for Bangkok’s water supply.

In a nutshell, this trip to Samsen Water Works provided the IB ESS students a great opportunity to observe the filtration processes of the water consumed thoughtlessly everyday in toilets, kitchens, gardens, and in every other common locations. Students applied their learning to their own lives, and reflected on their daily use of water and how this might change their behavior. One student shared in a reflection:

“I never thought about the water bill or how much water I used per day…everything I saw or learned was new to me. Knowing all this information really had an effect on me. I started to use less water and tried not to waste it. Before, I used to think that the bottled water was not expensive, so I bought it every day for drinking…now I know it is expensive. I also realized that Bangkok water management has a huge improvement since the past till now.”

Written By: Cindy Shin (Class of 2018)

Many thanks to the MWA at Samsen in Bangkok for their collaboration in this real-world learning opportunity for the students to connect with the local community in Bangkok. Specifically, we would like to thank Mr. Ton for taking the students on a tour and providing insight into the detailed process behind the water filtration systems, as well as other members of the engineering team. Also, thanks to Ms. June for making the arrangements between Samsen MWA and Wells, and our community members Ms. Ann and Ms. Fon in joining us on the field trip, for translations and preparation. You all helped make this off-campus experience successful and memorable for the students.

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