Day 03 - Smarter Energy (Middle School)

Day 3 of Innovation Academy has been an exciting one! The day started with a classroom speaker, Erica Ferro, she works for IBM in the energy grid sector. The students watched videos and created conversation about types of energy usage and the future of energy.

Reflection comments from students about the presentation:

  • Ian: “Many places around the world are putting down power plants and using solar and wind energy.”
  • Ethan: “I liked how much smart grids will help us in the future when non-renewable energy will be low and energy demand will be increasing.”
  • Jayden: “By the year 2050 smart grids with new technology will inverse the non-renewable to renewable ratio (80%-20%).”
  • Our design challenge of the day was, ‘How might we harness the normally destructive energy of Mother Nature’. We watched national geographic videos about tornadoes, hurricanes and lightning. This helped give our students information about how they are created. Before we started the design process we added a math piece. They graphed the wind speeds of different types of tornadoes. Students were able to convert numerical data into a visual representation. The students came up with incredibly innovative ideas such as using the wind speed from the hurricanes to harness energy to store. Then, they would sell the energy to help rebuild the town. Another group, collected the positive and negative ions within a storm cloud to create electricity. Finally, a few students made a device that floated in the ocean and harnessed the electrical voltage from lightning through a funnel device. The students shared their reflections of today’s design on sticky notes that I have copied below.
  • Anonymous: “I thought the design challenge was amazing because it was based on the last challenge. The idea was outstanding because we turned something dangerous to our advantage.”
  • Jayden: “The design process made us design a creative solution to a problem that doesn’t have a lot of prior research.”
  • Julie: “The most challenging thing was getting the foam balls on the tubing. They kept on falling off.”
  • Anonymous: “I really like how our team incorporated lightning and water.”
  • Anonymous: “I think the design process helped me to be more confident because I know I am able to do a better job breaking things down into little steps.”

It is astonishing that these middle school students are able to come up with such innovative ideas. I feel such an honor to teach these talented youth and I can’t wait for school tomorrow!