Expansion of Capstone Pitches

Below are the three final runners for the Capstone project. Please write any ideas for sequences of lessons they should contain - either full lesson sequences (series of bullet points with explanations should do) or any other thoughts or suggestions you might have for them.

Solar System (with inverter) for School or Clinic

Initial discussion (from meeting): Has lots of real, direct impact. Good for 'spec-type' design: “how much power do I need, how many panels…” etc. Not much 'brainstormy'-type design - but could begin with large-scope CCB workshop then reference that when brainstorming smaller-scope stuff like “what backing should I use for this panel?” Also have to design how to set it up on a particular building.

Eight Planets around a Star Curriculum Proposal 1

Prereq Stuffs, maybe to expand upon later: CCB basic circuits, including voltage, current, and LED's

1. Learn about how solar cells work, how to work with them (cutting, contacting) and build a small (led-lighting/ maybe cell phone charging size) panel.

2. Experiment with your small panel for different light levels, shading, angle of incidence. Maybe play with putting multiple panels in series or parallel if there are multiple that have been made in previous lesson. Measure the panel efficiency. Learn about peak power?

3a. If it's not been done before, make a circuit to light an LED, use your panel for a power source. If you have lit LED's before but not from solar panels, quickly show this is possible.

3b. If it's not been done before, make a circuit to charge a (cell phone) battery and run it with your panel. If you've charged batteries before, try using your panel to do this, and adapt your charging circuit if necessary.

3c. Put 3a, 3b, and previous all together and make a solar lamp (or other small solar powered device)

4. Take a break from thinking about solar panels and instead consider what is needed by whatever building you're electrifying. For example, if its a clinic, this might be refrigeration as well as lighting. Learn about how these technologies work and how much power they consume. Brainstorm if there might be more energy efficient ways to do them. Start to consider if these could be built or where they would be sourced from.

5. Inverters! How they work, how to build or source. Why use AC? (Power transmission, availability of appliances - it might turn out that the answer is to not use AC - don't forget the inverters have efficiency losses too)

6. Deep Cycle Batteries - care an maintenance. Charging (if different than others) What might be a good way to make sure they're being maintained. Maybe - “this is how they work. Now what do you think might go wrong?”

7. System Time! - making large panels, measuring them to make sure they're good. Learn about maintenance as the system is getting put together. Maybe keep discussing what things could break/not work, so that later, troubleshooting and upkeep has a place to come from.

8. keep it running - a whole system will eventually wear out/ need upkeep. when this happens is a great time to practice creative thinking and problem solving.

OK, so 4,5,6 can really be done in any order. Maybe another mid-sized project somewhere in there, like 'use 3 of your small panels to….something cool that I haven't looked up yet' A good inverter project would be nice. Is there some low power application that is useful and requires AC?

I have to run, but I will probly edit this a bit in the next 6 hrs.

Biomass Project (stove/gasifier running gasoline engine etc)

Initial discussion:

  • Introduces thermo-type knowledge
  • Fuel might be scarce
  • Lack of knowledge in team itself, but know where to look for it.

Very vague proposal:

  1. Discuss cooking fuels: biomass, charcoal, butane, methane, etc.
  2. Learn about the chemistry of biogas: aerobic vs anaerobic digestion, temperature control… maybe there's an experiment we could do here?
  3. Do some experiments with gases to consider relevant PV = NRT concepts (density? pressure/volume? trapping gas under liquids?)
  4. Maybe: build a mini-digestor (Anna's D-Lab energy class never quite got this working)(Neither did Brianna's the following year)
  5. Thermo: convection currents, using solar thermal, blackbody radiation
    1. Maybe compare heat absorption from the sun in different color surfaces (black vs white vs reflective)
  6. Design a large biogas digestor
  7. Build the digestor
  8. Design a system for transporting gas to the stove (this step may be the most creative design-heavy)
  9. Build the gas transport system
  10. could add designing a way to see how much gas is in the digester/safety release valve ~Brianna

"Bike Design" Project

Initial discussion: Could be centered around dynamo, also general “building things with bicycles”. Bernard

Bike Curriculum Proposal 1

1. ”Big CCB Workshop” Teach basic principles of brainstorming, idea selection, prototyping and teamwork. Give locally-relevant, simple (able to be done in an afternoon) design problems for students to solve.

2. “Bike Mechanics 101” Explain different parts of a bike, how they work, how to use tools to take apart/modify them. Could skip or modify this lesson if students already familiar with how bikes work.

3. “Design a Bike Stand” Use principles learned at CCB to design rigid bike stand that can be used by students for subsequent bike projects.

4. ”Bike pump lesson” Use knowledge of gear train and CCB design skills to make a gear train able to operate pump.

5. ”Shake Dynamo” Basic electricity generation principles - can skip this if students are already familiar.

6. ”Bike Charger” Build a cellphone charger charged by bike!

7. “Bike-use design project” This could be several lessons. Using the previous lessons (bikes used to generate mechanical and electrical power), and CCB, either give students problems to solve using bikes (I don't like this so much, because it's quite prescriptive) or tell them to brainstorm a problem in their own life/community that they could solve using their new-found knowledge of bikes.


Brianna Conrad, 2011/09/25 03:52

Does TTI have lots of Solar Panels OR lots of Solar Cells (it makes a difference - and i feel like in the past it was said they have lots of cells)

Does Urban have interest in bike-powered devices as well as the resources

Anna, 2011/09/22 16:51

Thoughts about Community Partners

  • MVP, Tanzania:
    • Most interested in a solar project, since they already have lots of solar panels installed. But we would need to send the solar cells there, or find a local distributer
    • Also interested in biomass, although the farming areas are far from the classrooms– which might pose some difficulty
  • TTI, Ghana:
    • Abu requested an inverter lesson, and the lab already has lots of solar panels–which they hope to use more of in the future
    • Students were interested in bike-powered devices
    • A biomass digestor would be difficult to install on the TTI campus, and fuel may be scarce
  • Urban, San Francisco:
    • Impossible to have a digestor on campus, very difficult to find/transport enough fuel
    • School has several solar panels installed on rooftops and students are already interested in the technology. We'd likely need teacher supervision to deal with any sort of high voltage equipment.
    • Bikes would be easy to find/modify
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