Culminating STEM Project For MIHS Physics 2 and Chemistry 2 Classes Funded By Grant From MISF
Mercer Island, WA, April 6, 2023 – Mercer Island High School students in Rita Harvey’s Physics 2 and Chemistry 2 classes have a STEM culminating project of building a Stirling Engine from ordinary materials.
For the culminating project students researched a variety of energy-conservation devices before Harvey chose the Stirling Engine because it can be used as an engine, a refrigerator, or a heat pump.
This culminating project was made possible through a grant from the Mercer Island Schools Foundation (MISF).
The MISF grant provided the 150 students in Harvey’s classes three Stirling Engine models and all the equipment needed, which includes brass tubing, copper pipe, steel wool, galvanized wire, glues, epoxy, pipe cutters, pliers, squares, tape, and balsa wood, to build their own engines.
Student groups in each class chose one of the three models, researched how that model worked, and then made a presentation to their classmates on how the model worked.
Students have now moved on to building their own Stirling Engine with the materials provided by MISF. Once the models are built students will design their own experiments to investigate and test their engine.
This culminating project provides the opportunity for students to showcase their STEM knowledge and participate in hands-on investigations and experimental-design concepts. The students use real-time data collection to reinforce physics and engineering concepts they have learned. Additionally, this is a great thought-provoking way for students to build from inexpensive materials an energy-conversion device. In explaining and showcasing their end result, the students will gain experience in public speaking and using evidence to support their statements.
This is the first year that this project has been undertaken, with anticipation that future classes will be able to expand on the previous year's work.
While there are many students that have a solid mathematical base and the confidence to succeed, there are about an equal number of students who struggle with the math portion of physics and chemistry but have a great understanding of physics and chemistry principles. Harvey is hoping that this course-summation project will allow all of her students to showcase their own individual strengths.
The Mercer Island Schools Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) public service, non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing and improving the quality of education provided to ALL Mercer Island School District students by obtaining contributions for the public schools.
Started in 1981, the Foundation has raised over $26 million thanks to the generous community.
Since its founding, the Foundation has become the catalyst for the Mercer Island community to guarantee every teacher has access to the most up-to-date, innovative educational materials that guarantee exceptional teaching and learning experiences for every student.
The tremendous success of the organization lies in the simple fact that the Mercer Island Schools Foundation was born in a community that places value on quality education. Learn more about the impact of our community’s commitment to education.
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