Key Wins Grant for Lower School Renewable Energy Science Kits

  • Lower School

The Lower School was awarded a $3,300 grant from the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), Central Maryland Chapter, to purchase new renewable energy science kits thanks to Thinkering Studio Coordinator Carol Mahoney and Lower School Science Coordinator Meredith Marcum, who sought funding for an upcoming fourth grade project on clean technology. These kits will give Key’s fourth graders the ability to explore the workings of clean energy technology systems on a miniature scale and learn how these renewable forms of energy are able to charge batteries. “It is exciting to integrate these kits into our curriculum as it will allow us to push our science program forward as we work to provide authentic problems for students to grapple with and learn from,” said Meredith Marcum.

Employing Key’s interdisciplinary approach, their science work will integrate with their social studies unit on Ancient Greece.  As they read Homer’s The Odyssey, students will keep a running list of problems facing Odysseus and his men.Then, in groups of three, they will select and solve one of the problems they have identified, using one or two rechargeable battery-powered motors in their solutions.

This design challenge follows the Tufts University Novel Engineering approach in which students use existing classroom literature as the basis for engineering design challenges that help them identify problems, design realistic solutions, and engage in the Engineering Design Process while reinforcing their literacy skills. Looking ahead, Carol Mahoney stated, “The awarding of this grant will allow students to practice so many of the World Economic Forum’s Skills Outlook for 2022 including analytical thinking and innovation, active learning, creativity, originality, initiative, complex problem-solving, and analysis.”

AFCEA is a nonprofit association dedicated to providing an ethical, interactive forum for sharing knowledge and building relationships across government, military, industry, and academia. The chapter provides grants and scholarships in support of future leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).