by Christian Black-Storm and Zakia Mallam-Hassam -MYP Science Teachers
Don’t just tell me how it is done, let me try!
The 7th grade science students were sent a letter from the Ghanaian Energy Commission where they asked for some ideas on how to convert renewable energy into electricity or heat in an efficient way. The Commission also wanted ideas that had a connection to supporting rural areas where access to electricity can be challenging.
Using the scientific method and the knowledge they had from lessons on energy conversion, each student had to design an investigation that was testable regarding renewable energy conversions. These 43 investigations were graded by the teacher and presented to the rest of the class. Through a complicated semi democratic voting and veto system, 18 projects were chosen.
Following the Engineering Design Process, the students researched, imagined and planned out their ideas. The 7th grade students assigned themselves roles as photographer, researcher, builder, designer, organizer etc. These roles would change during the process.
Most of the designs were made from scratch using old bicycle dynamos, bamboo sticks, garden hose, tin foil, LEGO pieces and cardboard boxes combined with cogs, generators, elastic bands and volt meters to measure the outcome of the investigations. Others were made from science-kits which were altered to fit the purpose of the investigation.
The students presented their findings and products at a science fair on Friday, May 23rd!
- The creation of the prototype was very challenging as finding the right materials to build from was harder than anticipated.
- Making sure the investigation was kept scientific, by controlling the variables and testing enough times to make the data reliable.
- Working with renewable energy sources is challenging because the sun doesn’t always shine through the clouds and the wind doesn’t always blow.
- Wind power in Ghana is probably not the way to go.
- Collaborating with others when you think you have a great idea and then trying to explain, can be very challenging.
- Understanding others' ideas and carrying them out was difficult and made me ask many questions.
Thanks to the many students and teachers that participated in making it a special day.
Christian Black-Storm and Zakia Mallam-Hassam
MYP Science Teachers