Eureka! It’s Battery Power!!!

The past two weeks in STEM have seen the beginning of our next major project, which we are calling “Eureka!  It’s Battery Power!!!”  Linking to our marking period motif of “Inspiration” and those “a-ha” moments that drive innovation and progress, this project asks students to create a device with a sustaining spark.  The parameters for the project are actually quite simple: create a device that uses electrical power in a manner that is SUSTAINABLE, PORTABLE, and MEETS A NEED.

We began by familiarizing ourselves with circuits and electricity.  We built lemon powered circuits, compared the structure and function of series versus parallel circuits, and investigated Ohm’s Law and the Power equation.  We also collected real time data on the charging of a cell phone battery, and then used that data to perform mathematical regressions to uncover the exponential functions that describe how batteries charge.

IMG_3355 IMG_3265 IMG_3270Battery Boot Camp! Students explore series and parallel circuits

Battery Boot Camp!! Students explore series and parallel circuits.

Screenshot 2016-03-06 at 12.18.58 PM

Real time data of cell phone battery charging using the battery monitor widget

Screenshot 2016-03-06 at 12.20.16 PM

Regressions of the piecewise functions of cell phone charging data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we had the basics down, students took their new learning and ran with it.  Ideas flowed like water as they brainstormed a variety devices to meet a wide array of needs.

IMG_3384

Initial brainstorming on the white boards.

By the end of the week, students had narrowed their focus, and settled on initial concepts for their designs.

One group is planning on making a solar powered go cart.  They’ve already started a “Go Fund Me” account and raised 150$ to buy parts.  Step one – find an old chassis for a gas powered go cart that can be re-purposed and re-fitted with an electric motor.  Between Craig’s list and the local dump, progress is being made.

Another group is planning on making a solar powered dehumidifier that produces potable water from atmospheric moisture.  Their initial research has been two-fold.  First, they sought to identify geographic locations that need such a device, by finding data on relative humidity, average family size, and access to drinking water around the globe.  Initial results suggest that their efforts might be most suited to countries of southeast Asia.  Second, they need to figure out the “sweet spot” for power requirements versus water output.  How much water per day can they get from a solar panel of useful size?

Yet another group will be constructing a skateboard with dynamos incorporated into the wheels, in order to provide the electrical power to charge a cell phone, and/or play music through an on-board Bluetooth speaker.

The great ideas just keep coming, and run the gamut from flat out fun to meeting a real societal need.  It’s virtually guaranteed that ideas and plans will shift as vision meets reality, which will be a beautiful process to watch.  Stay tuned to see how it all unfolds…..

 

 

Gallery | This entry was posted in Weekly Wrap-ups. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Eureka! It’s Battery Power!!!

  1. Pingback: STEM Project Exhibitions – Eureka, it really IS battery power (and solar power, and hydropower, and…..) | GHS Innovation Lab

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s