EcoCAR Gets Middle School Students To Think Green

Two local middle schools in Michigan received a special visit last week from 15 EcoCAR Outreach Coordinators for the Spring Workshop Outreach Day.

Rose Hulman and WVU present to students at Slauson Middle School

Each Outreach Coordinator was paired with another Outreach Coordinator from a different university to present to sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students at both Fortis Academy in Ypsilanti, MI and Slauson Middle School in Ann Arbor, MI. These presentations ranged from discussing the different alternative fuels and the EcoCAR program to hands-on activities.

One presentation included a hands-on activity that encouraged students to create their own ‘car’ based on size of the vehicle, fuel selection, and architecture. They then had to come up with a name, slogan, and price for the car, and pitch it to their fellow classmates. The winning team created a mid-size hydrogen fuel cell named the ‘Aqua Mobile.’

“It’s amazing to see the kids put on their thinking caps and come up with ideas of how they could make their vehicles more environmentally friendly,” said Georgia Tech Outreach Coordinator Kary Winkler.

The students were also able to see a Chevy EcoCAR first hand and take photos with the car.

“Kids today are so much more aware of alternative energy, but it makes you think of how important it is to have outreach events at schools,” said North Carolina State Outreach Coordinator Divya Ramamurthi. “It really puts it back into perspective how much we can achieve by talking to students.”

Probably the most impressive thing during Outreach Day was the number of in-depth questions students asked the Coordinators about hybrids and alternative fuels.

“As someone who’s been with the program for more than a year, I always find it encouraging when I visit a school and the kids know more about advanced vehicles than I did in the early stages of the program,” said Lesley McLelland, Outreach Coordinator for the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). “It really is an honor to be part of a program that allows us to teach young people about green technologies.”

MS and T, NCSU, and UOIT Present to 8th Grade Students