25 students and teachers from YES! teams at Glencoe-Silver Lake High School (coached by Mike Sundblad) and Minnesota New Country School (coached by David Rice) participated in the recent Exploring the Biofuels Industry and Automotive Design Practices Winter Workshop at Glencoe-Silver Lake High School on December 4, 2015. This workshop provided a variety of energy-related experiences, allowing students to connect with experts and gain information to position them for success as they excel in team-based projects this school year.
The students began the day by helping to “Define YES! in One Word.” Each student wrote what YES! meant to them or what they thought YES! was in one word on a sheet of paper. These words were collected to create a word cloud. Words that occurred more frequently appear larger in the graphic.
Next, students broke the ice with Rock, Paper, Scissors. Students paired up and played 2-3 rounds of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Each winner paired up with another winner, and the students that did not win became the cheerleaders for the winners. Play progressed until one student triumphed, claiming a t-shirt and bragging rights for the day.
We had three engaging speakers lined up to talk to the students. Joe Wambeke and Kevin Larison, faculty members from the automotive programs at Ridgewater College, spoke to the teams about the type of automotive classes offered at Ridgewater College as well as ways to improve vehicle efficiency. Wambeke discussed the pros and cons of using aluminum versus steel, water-based paint versus solvent-based paint, and fuel injection versus carburetors. Larison showed the teams a glass engine, enabling students and staff to understand what happens when certain variables are changed.
Paul Steevens, automotive researcher at Minnesota State University, Mankato, explained the type of automotive research conducted at the university and also offered tips to the students on ways to improve miles per gallon in their various types of supermileage cars. One helpful tip he gave to the teams was if something doesn’t work toward the overall goal, scrap it.
Our day concluded by allowing teams time to work on their projects. The MNCS team headed home to discuss ideas they had gathered while the GSL team stayed to work on their proposals for the 28th Annual Supermileage Challenge, sponsored by the Minnesota Technology and Engineering Educators Association (MTEEA).