Focusing on sustainability and feasibility, the Energy Discovery Zone (EDZ) program uses actual professional equipment and systems to educate students about concepts such as conventional and alternative energy while giving them the chance to use what they learned in the real world.
The Energy Discovery Zone consists of three related initiatives:
- SOLAR POWER STATION PLATFORMS: AYA Instruments, EDZ’s parent company, installed custom-designed sustainable energy platforms at the Community Day School and West Allegheny Middle School. A PDF brochure is also available.
- MOBILE STEAM CLASSROOMS: EDZ is converting 18-passenger buses into mobile classrooms. The first will operate in LA with plans to expand service to the Pittsburgh area. Pictures of a similar bus are shown in the column to the right.
- EMPLOYMENT FOCUSED LEARNING PLATFORM: EDZ is developing an all-in-one learning platform that utilizes cutting edge technologies designed to teach students critical thinking and interpersonal skills. The purpose of this program is to help them gain employment while learning about sustainability. Proposed areas of training include industry-specific skills such as modifying vehicles like the mobile classroom for increased sustainability and utility.
The Solar DC Microgrid System Education Program in the Millvale Food+Energy Hub offers opportunities for students, visitors, and the community at large to examine the emerging role of renewable DC energy in promoting sustainability and reducing the damage caused to our environment and health by energy generation. The Hub’s state-of-the art microgrid, coupled with an advanced power control system for the building, building automation, and educational dashboard, serves as a learning tool for a wide range of abilities, age ranges, and interests from the casual to highly technical.
The DC HEART (Humanity, Energy, and Regional Transformation) initiative is a partnership among the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business, Swanson School of Engineering, and School of Social Work, as well as the Narottam Lalbhai Rural Development Fund and Ahmedabad University. As part of the Direct Currect (DC) powered Bioshelter laboratory in Homewood, DC HEaRT created a set of lesson plans to be used in conjunction with the program. Read about the trip DC HEaRT personnel made to India to lay the groundwork for a partnership meant to use Indian engineering expertise to help scale up the Bioshelter.
FDPA is an all-volunteer organization working to eliminate gerrymandering in Pennsylvania. Visit Fair Districts PA for more information.
ElderBots, a program created by the Carnegie Mellon University Quality of Life Technology Center (now defunct), promoted informal intergenerational contacts through the use of a small, appealing, low-cost, mobile robot named EB. Participating organizations and facilities serving older adults were teamed with local high schools that recruited students to visit the older adults, interacting on an informal basis through the use of EB.
Joe McLaughlin was the Robotics Educator for the Carnegie Science Center roboworld, the world’s largest permanent robotics exhibition.