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DevGru (develpment group) Work

by James
(Shelbyville, Ky. USA)

This week, my classroom development group (DevGru) started working on their stove designs. It was good to see what my eager students come up with in terms of materials and designs.

I like using Devgru to develop ideas because I have never done this, and I like working the kinks out before we have our big lesson. One of the things I think I will stress MORE in the classroom is the importance of finding a good design, spending the time to prototype it, and then beginning construction.

Many of my Devgru students are gifted, and because of this, they like to get hands-on as soon as possible. As far as this DevGru trial lesson goes, I have been pretty hands-off. I gave them a minimal framework with resources and I'm letting them build from there. This seems to be the best way to naturally make it student-friendly.

One of the disadvantages to being eager and hands-on is that many of them jumped in before they really knew what they were doing. This means that many of them are spending time on self-created designs that will not be successful.

This is easily turned into a learning moment...and if I had more time, might be a great way to start the unit (one of the unit goals is the modification of a model after data has been collected)but we lost a week from snowdays that were "forgiven" so we do not have to make them up.

So I have modified my plans to reflect a need for the students to really have a clear idea of what they want to build before they ever get access to materials. The first oven should be a strong foundation from which to build improvements.

This week, DevGru will be spending two days after school completing their designs. The idea is that next week we will find a day or two where we can cook something :)

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Apr 21, 2015
What is needed for solar cooking
by: Jim La Joie

I will be judging student built solar cookers in mid-may. Judging criteria will be based upon how well the student design accomplishes each of the following in the acronym
C A R D.

Collection - direct sunlight and reflected sunlight are sent to the collection area. Solar cookers use reflector arrays to multiply the light going into the collection area.

Absorption - The collected light is absorbed into a dark, non-reflective surface. Since energy can never be destroyed - just changed - this light energy turns into heat energy to cooker food. The darker and duller the surface, the more light is absorbed and the more heat is created. This heat radiates in all directions - into the food and into the surrounding air.

Retention - is keeping our newly created heat from escaping. A barrier of some sort - cooking bag, glassware, oven door - is used to keep radiated heat near the cooking pot. If a barrier is not provided, heat will not be retained as well and cooking will be slower.

Duration - is the length of time that the cooker is able to provide the three elements listed above. A solar cooker must be able to achieve Collection, Absorption and Retention for a sufficient length of time to cook the food.

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