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Faculty and students at Clarkson University have developed a 10-week unit for middle school students to increase their awareness and aptitude for engineering. The unit, entitled "engineering for the environment", challenges students to reduce solid waste from their community by reusing the waste in the form of a valuable material. Science, engineering and math are integrated to help students learn to transform biodegradable materials into compost and to incorporate non-biodegradable materials as an aggregate in concrete. This unit shows young students that there is a wide diversity in the nature of work done by engineers, and that engineers can indeed help the environment and society - messages that are particularly important for young girls. The engineering for the environment curriculum is incorporated into project lead the way's middle school curriculum to balance existing units that focus on mechanical and electrical aspects of engineering.