Yesterday we dropped in on Caroline Chamberlain's 8th grade Science class where students are involved in an engineering and CAD/3D printing virtual exchange with students from Gayaza High School in Uganda. Click here for photos.
New to Delbarton's curriculum this year, the program is facilitated by Level Up Village which delivers global STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) enrichment courses promoting one-to-one collaboration to solve real world problems. Launched in 2012, LUV runs courses during school, after-school and in the summer at more than 65 U.S. schools in 12 states, with over 30 Global Partner organizations in 19 countries. U.S. schools partner directly to sponsor education in developing countries through LUV's "take a class, give a class" model: a portion of the tuition is used to deliver the same class to students at one of LUV's Global Partners, some of whom are living on less than $2 a day. Director of Global Programs Dan Pieraccini attended yesterday's class to check on this first virtual exchange of the year. Also in the works is a linguistic exchange in Spanish classes with a school in Lima, Peru and he is working on an exchange with a school in India. "If you can't take your class into the world, you can bring the world into your classroom," is Pieraccini's message to Delbarton teachers.
Back to Chamberlain's class, where it was week three in the five week exchange and the class was watching several videos produced by the girls in Uganda who are way ahead of us in using solar. Chamberlain pointed out that Uganda's location on the equator made the sun a very feasible power source. "Does anyone here use solar power at home?" Chamberlain asked. "I have a solar-powered calculator," one boy said. Baby steps. Families in both countries use similar back-up solutions during power outages: generators, torches ("they mean flashlights, not burning pieces of wood," said Chamberlain), and candles. The girls charge their phones at night, use Facebook and Instagram and worry about power. Badminton and cricket are popular, and soccer is a universal.
The Delbarton boys share details about their lives through a similar video process, then it was time to get down to business: designing a light source that will be 3D printed by students on both continents. We will report back on the finished products. In this Global Inventors course, the American and Ugandan students are using the same tools -- CAD design and a 3-D printer – to design solar powered lights using the basic engineering design process.
Given Delbarton's dynamic Engineering & Robotics program, these fellows could easily move into a more sophisticated project if engineering piques their interest. Einstein said, "Scientists investigate that which already is; engineers create that which has never been." Our 8th graders are getting a taste of both disciplines, plus exposure to another culture half a world away. Meanwhile, energy remains an important issue, and we believe we have discovered a viable natural resource at Delbarton: Collect the latent power in a classroom filled with Delbarton 8th graders, all of whom appear to be bordering on spontaneous combustion. Just ask Mrs. Chamberlain, who ends the lesson with a smile and a curt "Good job, dudes."
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