Preston middle schoolers are collaborating with peers globally to figure out how to light the darkness of more than a billion people who live without reliable electricity.
“The unprescribed learning that’s happening is incredible,” Winey said. “The learning is through their heads and hearts. It’s totally going beyond the regular school day and the regular assignment.”
That intrinsic motivation pushes students, especially girls – who are notoriously underrepresented in STEM fields – to engage with the technical hurdles that must be overcome to create a working light.
“When the girls are given a way to help other people, the engineering becomes almost transparent to them,” Winey said, noting the relevance of a real world application.
Kids also learn that they have the collective power to solve a real world problem
“This isn’t just about doing good, but learning how to be entrepreneurial. If we can enable this generation of kids to see themselves as problem solvers, that’s pretty powerful,” assistant principal John Howe said.