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Everyone knows that mistakes can happen. No matter how careful you are errors can still make their way through -- even at large companies.

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Logan Carstensen's seventh grade science class at Lake Middle School recently wrapped up a project where students identified errors in the usage of the metric system on various products.

"The assignment is to go out, look at consumer packaging and find incorrect usage of the metric system, he said. " There are plenty of errors out there."

All seventh grade classes at Lake Middle School did the same project.

The science teachers also take the project one step further by having the students write professional business letters to the companies indicating their errors and recommending a correction.

Carstensen said the most common error that the students found was the incorrect usage of milliliter. Instead of a lower case "m" companies use a capital "M" which means "mega" not "milli."

"The project forces students to look at things," he said. "It forces them to observe things they normally won't pay attention to on the packaging of Doritos and Mountain Dew and other things they enjoy."

A good catch

Carstensen's students sent out roughly 150 letters to various companies, and now many of the students are hearing back from the businesses expressing their appreciation.

"The businesses expressed their gratitude for all the great things the students are doing and that they appreciate their work," Carstensen said.

Roughly 80 percent of the companies sent responses, Carstensen said.

One student, Carolina Christensen, found the incorrect usage of "milli" on a nail polish bottle.

After notifying the company, Christensen received a short note and 72 bottles of nail polish from the company.

"The project was kind of fun because you got to point out something that adults missed," she said. "Plus, I did not expect that much nail polish."

Christensen said her favorite part of the project was the suspense of waiting for a response from the company.

Victor Ding and Nick Konrad had a similar experience to that of Christensen in that they received a box of Rachel's Baked Chips after pointing out the misusage of a capital "G" for grams.

However, the company informed the boys that the usage was in fact correct through approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"They thanked us for pointing that out though," Konrad said.

Both Ding and Konrad said they enjoyed the project because it gave them a chance to investigate.

"I really enjoyed this project because it was almost more investigative," Ding said.

"It wasn't just writing down notes it's more hands on and experimenting," Konrad said.

Konrad said he was very surprised at how courteous the company was to them.

"Companies are nicer than you expect them to be," he said. "They really do take your comments into consideration."

Carstensen said the most impressive response that one of his students received was the one that Nathan Jorenby received.

Jorenby identified the misusage of milliliter on a bottle of glass cleaner made by Unger Industrial LLC.

Scott Machado, of Unger, sent a response to Jorenby thanking him for his catch and asking him to proof their corrected product.

Machado also informed Jorenby that he is now an honorary team member at Unger and sent him a certificate and a photo of the company team.

"We hope that you and the other students in your seventh grade science class keep their eyes open, work as a team, and never stop looking to make things better," Machado said in his letter.

Carstensen said his students really enjoyed hearing back from the companies.

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Amber Kispert-Smith
Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
(651) 702-0976
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