Last week in Get City, we started to design our inventions in SketchUp. The invention I am working on is a solar phone case charger. The case allows the sun to indirectly charge your phone, after converting the solar energy into electrical energy. A drawing of the proposed prototype is shown below, and we will start building next week.
SketchUp drawing of a solar phone case concept
This year, GET City will introduce new ways of using technology to help the environment. We are going to explore traditional as well as renewable sources of energy. This will include wind and solar powered objects that we use every day. We might even make a light bulb or a grill powered by fruit and vegetables!
Read on for the top two picks from American Energy Idol, GET City Edition. More»
A food investigator is not only a person who investigates food, but more specifically someone who uses the tools of science to investigate what is in the food they eat, the role of food in their health, and the health of the environment. This summer, in GET City, we are being food investigators in our community. We have been thinking about the food we eat and where it came from. We are learning how to make healthier choices and what foods are considered healthy. We are also thinking about how food choices impact the environment, in terms of energy use and other issues. We plan to share our research and make changes in our community. More»
Have you ever thought about how much sugar is in a bottle of Coke or fruit juice?
Compared to the recommended daily amount of sugar, we investigated how much sugar was in those drinks. We learned how to read the nutrition label of drinks and then determined the amount of sugar in them. To visualize the sugar amounts, we poured sugar in each measured amount into a cup. We were very surprised to see that the amount of sugar in a can of Pink Lemonade was similar to the daily recommended amount! We are drinking a lot of sugar!
Have you ever played with data like a scientist?
Using data that we collected from grocery stores, we learned how to put the datasets into Google Spreadsheets, merge them together, and analyze them. We found something fascinating in the data! We also thought about how we could improve our data collection process, based on the analysis. We looked like real scientists today!
Guess what we gave our friends as gifts for Valentine’s Day? Candy? Chocolate? No! None of those!
We gave them healthy smoothies, made using a bike blender!
Do you know what the bike blender is? When you pedal the bike attached to the blender, you generate power needed to make delicious smoothies. No plugs and no electricity is used. It is environmental friendly and cool!!!
GET City is exploring food around our community from different perspectives: Energy, health and justice. Last week we took a field trip to Market Fresh. While there we had to pick a healthy snack that would feed 20 people for under $20. The task helped us see that it was hard to find something cheap and healthy. We also interviewed people (customers, staff, etc.) about their opinion of the store and what they wanted to see change. We plan to take more field trips to different food places to gather more information. Cami
“Buttons 4 Bears” By Cami
Great news! Cami and Quahn won awards in the state-wide 2012 Young Innovators Competition sponsored by the Prima Civitas Foundation. Participants in this competition answered the following question: If you could invent anything to improve your community, what would it be and why?
Cami won first place in the 6-8th grade division with her creative initiative “Buttons for Bears”, which raises awareness about climate change for people in the Lansing area. Quahn won second place in the same division for his design of a video game “Grand Climate Change Video Game”. This game is for children and adults to learn new energy behaviors and why they are important. Click on the links above to see their original entries.
“Grand Climate Change” By Quahn
GET City had a food taste test to understand how processed foods are different from non-processed foods. We tasted different kinds of foods, such as fruit snacks versus fresh fruits, and bakery wheat bread versus Wonder bread. Then we tried to answer some questions: Which food do you prefer? Which food do you think is healthier? How many ingredients are in each food? We also talked about why we want to know what is in the food and what we want to know more about foods.
As a bonus, we had special guests today. The crew of “LRN101″, an educational TV show based in Greater Lansing, visited GET City to shoot interviews with us about our experience in the GET City program and some footage of the activities today. The show will air online at LRNsomething.org and locally on City TV and WKAR. It’s awesome!
The spring session has kicked off with our fabulous GET Citizens! This Spring we’ll address issues of food and the environment in our community. As a starting point, we interviewed our peers about food: what they usually eat for breakfast, where their family buys groceries, and how they think food connects to the environment. We recorded the interviews on iPads and make them fun!