Day 04 - Smarter Energy (Middle School)

“The secret word is ENERGY”

It was terrific Thursday for the energy group. We started out the day with this math challenge: “Compare the number of sunny days in Colorado to a different state. After you find the data calculate the average, median and mode of the “sunny days” of that specific state.”
After the magnificent math calculations we had a speaker from IBM come into our classroom. His name is Tim Baker, better know as “Tornado Tim”. He is a trainer at IBM but is also a storm chaser in his free time. His videos have been used for national geographic. Tornado Tim talked about the energy that is involved during a tornado, more specifically, they use a device to detect the amount energy (measured in joules) to see the intensity of the tornadoes. He showed us various videos of the storms he has been able to film and a near death experience. These videos are on his website, please check them out.
Reflection from the students about our presenter:
Ian: “I learned that tornadoes are measured in joules and I also learned that there once was a F6 tornado.”
Anoynomous: “Tornado Tim was amazing and many facts about tornadoes were revealed so many fun facts were told and I had a BLAST.”
Anonymous: “I learned that debris are the most destructive part of a storm and that storm chasers are days ahead of the storm.”
Julie: “I learned that an EF5 tornado can hold the same amount energy as a nuclear power plant.”

After our amazing presenter we moved on to the design challenge-#4: “How might we better deal with the unpredictable nature of alternative fuels?” The students did not get as much time today to go through the design process because our time was limited. In light of that, the students were still able to make incredible prototypes. One group explained that we cannot collect solar power energy during the evening time so they created a device that collected lunar light. Group 4 made a device that collected wind and solar energy from a satellite outside of the earth. They wanted to create something that could go towards the area on earth that had the most energy at that time. Another prototype, was to gather energy from the friction created when you write a pencil on paper. They started this idea, when they decided that a community might not always have water energy available, like if there was a drought. The final group created an area to replenish biomass. The grew different types of plants but the main plant they chose was bamboo because they researched that it is the fastest growing plant. All in all, it was a fantastic day for design challenges. Here are some quotes during the reflection:
Jayden: “I believe that the design challenge today led us to a solution that may very well be applied to the real world.”
Josh: “Today’s design challenge was good and brought up innovative ideas.”
Anonymous: “I learned that animal poop is something that can be used as fuel.”
Anonymous: “If I had more time, I would have made a video of our prototype.”

Thanks! I cannot wait to see you all tomorrow.