Student Spotlight: Girl Power!

There are plenty of skills that students hope to acquire while in school — reading and writing proficiently, basic mathematical functions, etc. But one of the single most important skills that anyone can learn is problem solving.

A team of 9th grade girls from North Carolina seems to have acquired those problem solving skills . . . and a whole lot more. They’ve developed a system of interconnected desks that turns the simple foot-tapping of students into electricity that can power things like laptops, fans, and study lights.

The team from Charlotte’s Providence Day School envisions the Green Renewable Desk System as a set of six desks arranged in a grid, with a pedal under each desk. As students tap the pedals, a flywheel generates electricity. In turn, the generators charge an absorbed glass mat battery and the energy stored in that battery can then be used to power lights, laptops, or other classroom items.

All of this is intended to benefit the many school children in Africa who study in buildings without the basic electricity that we take for granted. Pending the successful completion of a prototype, the first recipient of a Green Renewable Desk System will be a school in Red Hill, South Africa.

For their trouble, the 10-girl team responsible for this innovation was awarded $10,000 in grant funding from the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams Program. And besides just the money, they’ve put their smarts to good use, coming up with a clever solution to a real-world problem.

Smart is cool!

– from NBC News

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