Lebanon High School
Integration around LHS
World Literature Project Has Students Explore Wind, Solar, and Other Energy Resources
English 10 (World Literature) - April 26 - May 25, 2016 - Mr. Tim Winslow
Students in Tim Winslow's World Literature class read The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. In his village in the African country of Malawi, Kamkwamba realized there was consistent wind, so he learned to build his own windmill to supply electricity to his family's home. Kamkwamba attended Dartmouth College and had visited LHS himself a few years back. Since then, he has returned home and worked to provide more electricity for folks in his village. To enhance the experience of reading the story, Mr. Winslow collaborated with LHS librarian Kellie Burke, physics and applied engineering instructor Kieth Matte, and tech integrator Andrew DiGiovanni to create a project that centered around electricity and energy resources.
The CK-12 wind turbine simulation (click image at left to try it yourself) was used to see how the length of the blade and the wind speed, as well as the inner design of the turbine, affect the windmill's power output. There were some built-in challenges to determine, for example, which conditions produce a certain minimum amount of megawatts of power.
The solar power simulator (click image at left to try it yourself) gave students an opportunity to change the solar intensity reaching a solar panel array, and turn appliances on and off in a house. This activity made students think a lot about their own typical energy consumption, and how many modern conveniences they would really need (and for how may hours they would be able to rely on them each day) if they were to live "off the grid" and generate electricity for their homes with their own solar power system. In fact, this resource and its extensions are intended for researching home-based solar panel systems.
It was very interesting for everyone to find out which of the given appliances was the biggest "power hog." (Play with it to find out...and try not to run out of AmpHours!)
As a follow-up to that experience, students designed their own home solar energy systems with the Solar Design Tools page related to the solar power simulator. As Mr. Winslow pointed out in the image at below left, they could tailor the size or power rating of each given appliance or room of appliances, along with the expected daily usage, to calculate the total energy consumption in their household - and then see how many solar panels they would need to purchase.
Three regional experts on renewable energy came to LHS and discussed sustainability, the technology behind wind and solar power generation, the pros and cons of each, and related issues from environmental impacts to net metering. A summary of those presentations, along with pictures, can be seen HERE. Through all of the activities and guest speakers, the purpose of the project was often connected back to the reading of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. The capstone of the project was a field trip to a 24-megawatt, 12-turbine wind farm in Lempster, operated by Spanish company Iberdrola. The fact sheet on the wind farm can be seen HERE.
Our hosts, Kevin and Debbie Onnela, lease land on their 1500-acre property to Iberdrola. They took the time to describe what the construction process was like, as well as what life was like for their family both before and after the wind farm. For 20 years, the Onnelas lived off the grid, and built their own windmill in order to power their home as they raised their kids. Now, the turbines send 34,500 volts down the hill and into the grid. All of the power from the wind farm is purchased by Eversource Energy.
Students and teachers ventured around the turbines, walked along the ridge, and gazed up at the giant towers - which are actually much smaller than some of the ones that they had heard about in the wind farms of California and other western states. The "woosh" of the blades could be heard as they swept around, and some quick math was done with the radius of the blades to determine that the tangential velocity of their ends is upwards of 165 miles per hour when the wind is at full strength. In addition, a replaced blade was lying horizontally, after having been struck by lightning. Students were even able to walk into it.
Below: The Onellas talk to Ms. Burke, Mr. Matte, Mr. Winslow, and Mr. Carey about the windmills, but Mr. Carey can't stop admiring the majestic towers above. Students check out how big one blade is, looking into it and even stepping inside. The trip concluded with a question and answer session on the Onellas' lawn, with a great view.
An Interactive Timeline of U.S. History from 1918 to 1940
U.S. History - March 17 - April 5, 2015 - Mr. David Dukeshire
Mr. Dukeshire's U.S. History students researched a range of topics from 1918 to 1940: an era that saw our nation experience the prosperity of the 20's that followed World War I and the stock market crash in which it come to a screeching halt, as well as the dire times of the Dust Bowl. Teams of students collaborated on a Google cloud-based spreadsheet to collect information and insert links to images and other media. For the final product, the spreadsheet information was published in the web-based application Timeline JS. When finished, the teams showcased their contributions to the timeline for the entire two sections of students. The interactive timeline is embedded below.
Podcasts of Book Reviews
Freshman Foundations - December 7-11, 2015 - Mrs. Susan Renard
Podcasts have become a popular way to obtain audio and video content, on countless topics in all aspects of culture, musical genres and more, on demand. Students in Freshman Foundations were assigned to read a book of their own choosing, and then produce a book review in the form of a podcast. Mrs. Renard pointed out the characteristics of a good podcast, and set the expectation that students would use some sort of "hook" to draw the listener in. They'd also need to consider their pacing and tone as they made their recordings. As far as the content: between the story's protagonist, setting, plot, conflict, or theme, students were to pick two pieces to focus on.
After each writing their own book reviews, students worked in groups to select one review to make a podcast for. They collaborated on scripts (far left) and decided how to approach the vocal aspect. Some reads were performed as a conversation between students; others sounded more like a radio feature or interview. Students could choose to record themselves using the GarageBand app on an iPad (near left), a microphone connected to a computer with the program Audacity, or into their own smartphone to then transfer the recording to either of those applications. The spoken review then became one "track" of a multi-track digital editor, and students could add music as an intro, outtro, or background. GarageBand allows the user to play virtual instruments such as pianos, guitars, and drums.
The music that students created ended up in the other tracks that they could edit and mix along with their vocals.
Astronomy Discussion and Phases of the Moon
Physics MR - November 13-18, 2015 - Mr. Kieth Matte
Following their studies of Isaac Newton's law of universal gravitation and Johannes Kepler's Laws of planetary motion, students in Physics MR (mathematically rigorous) spent some time learning additional astronomy concepts from the use of simulations in demonstrations and labs. Mr. DiGiovanni introduced them to key terminology and highlighted celestial events such as a lunar eclipse that was seen this past September, and the recent morning conjunction of Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. The classes discussed how the Earth's tilt causes seasons, and why stars (not just the Sun), the Moon, and planets all appear to rise in the east and set in the west, while their positions at the same time each day change slightly. Students realized that the constellations of the zodiac are significant because the Sun appears to travel through them, from our perspective, along an imaginary line called the ecliptic. "In reality," Mr. DiGiovanni said, "that's the path of the Earth around the Sun. So when you are seeing that line with the Sun on it, you are looking at the other side of Earth's orbital path...where we'll be months from now."
Students recorded data and made interpretations from their observations of simulations in SkyGazer 4.5, a program made by Carina Software. With SkyGazer, it is possible to place yourself anywhere on Earth at the current time, or well into the past or future. Mr. DiGiovanni had prepared localized files so that students could view the positions and behaviors of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars as they would truly appear relative to each other, as seen from the Upper Valley.
While orienting themselves with SkyGazer, students straightened out some misconceptions they had by making discoveries and asking questions. Mr. Matte (above) and Mr. DiGiovanni (right) showed them how to understand the complexities of the Sun-Earth-Moon system with the visual perspectives that the software allows. Click on the far right image to see how the Moon will be aligned with Venus, Mars, and Jupiter in the southern sky on an upcoming December morning. The green line is a celestial extension (i.e. projection out to space) of the local longitudinal meridian. The Sun is behind the "Info" box; its glare has been conveniently removed so that even the constellations behind it can be seen. Students learned that the planets never
stray far from the aforementioned ecliptic, since our solar system has all of their orbital planes pretty well matched up. The Moon orbits Earth at about a five degree angle relative to the ecliptic. In the near right image, the Moon's orbit is gray, and the ecliptic is yellow. In their lab on the phases of the Moon, students could zoom in to see how the Moon would actually look in any phase, due to how we would see the Sun's rays reflect off of it. They followed the appearance, rising time, transit time, and setting time of the Moon through the major marks along the lunar cycle. Simulations like the ones pictured below helped them understand why the phases of the Moon are observed as such.
The green portion of the "ribbon" in the images at left represents the portion of the Moon's travel above the ecliptic plane; the red portion, its travel below it. This is why we are not able to observe eclipses in every lunar cycle. Students also drew their own conclusions about the difference between sidereal and synodic months (that is, relative to the stars vs. relative to the phases). When the physics classes cover relativity later in the school year, Mr. Matte will ask students to observe a simulation of a solar eclipse, as well as perform an investigation on how the lunar phases affect the sequence, time separation, and depth levels of ocean tides in harbors along the Seacoast and through Downeast Maine.
The Simulations page of this site includes a link for downloading the FREE demo version of SkyGazer, as well as an available zip folder containing the localized settings files that were used in this project. SkyGazer 4.5 is a product of Carina Software & Instruments.
Researching Skin Disorders with Mind Mapping
Anatomy & Physiology - October 30 - November 6, 2015 - Ms. Mary Wenig
Mind mapping is a process in which thoughts and findings can be organized in a visual way. It is a method for students to demonstrate their understanding of content by showing how ideas and concepts are related. This project brought a digital element to a unit on the integumentary system (skin). Using the online application MindMup, students researched various skin disorders ranging from albinism to psoriasis, and built "mind maps." Students were expected to include a complete definition or description of the disorder, potential causes, typical symptoms, treatments, ranges of prognoses, and complications that might arise for an individual who is dealing with the disorder. They were also encouraged to include any other pertinent information. MindMup allows students to collaborate through their school Google accounts to build maps together. (At right, two students are able to see each other's edits in real time.) Students discussed what they found as they searched for medical information, diagrams, pictures, and short videos that they could include in their projects. They could also enhance and highlight ideas and concepts with colors (below).
Sample student work
Above: a mind map for hypertrichosis, which is an excessive hair growth disorder caused by genetic mutations. Below: a mind map for shingles, which is known to be very painful because it affects the nerves.
Turning mind maps into presentations
Above: MindMup has a feature for exporting a "storyboard," where students can turn the segments of their maps (called nodes) into sequential slides. At the "Gold" level of the program, it is possible to include supplemental images within the export. Students also incorporated links and source listings into their slides.
Students performed their research in a way that required preparing their content to be shown with visual relationships. Thus, they were challenged to straighten out many misconceptions about the nature of various skin disorders, what factors cause them, and what implications these disorders have on people, culture, and society. During presentations, the classes learned what their peers had gathered about several skin conditions: some common, and some very rare.
A number of good questions and interesting facts came up. It was pointed out that Michael Jackson had lost his skin pigmentation due to the disease vitiligo, which never goes away for those who suffer from it. Students were surprised to hear that impetigo, unlike many other skin disorders, is contagious. "If you are around someone with impetigo, you need to make sure you wash your hands and dry them with a clean towel," Ms. Wenig said. She commented that she remembered several cases of impetigo among people she had met when she was young. "Bathrooms used to often have a rotating cloth towel that would be used over and over," suggesting that might have had something to do with its prevalence at the time.
There was a lot of discussion about how so much suffering goes unseen by most of the public. Certain disorders can be quite common in specific geographic areas of the world. Students recognized that just because a disorder is not prevalent in the United States doesn't mean it isn't prevalent somewhere else. This is part of why there was such a lack of exposure (and a great number of misunderstandings) going in to the project. Whether having had the impression that a particular disorder was genetic, contagious, or caused by an infection when it was not, for example, many students admitted that they had not been fully aware of the true extent and causes of some of the skin disorders they had researched or heard about. "I didn't know a whole lot about Lupus before the project; [I had] just heard of the disease before" said one student after the project, when asked to reflect on it. A classmate shared, "I learned about many skin disorders I previously didn't know about."
While the maps and presentations were informative about many ailments that people around the world deal with, it was probably the emotional connection that students would remember the most. "I gained more knowledge on my topic because i knew the gist but i didn't know all the effects it had on someone," one student noted. Generally, they had a realization that social isolation and depression commonly result from skin disorders, and to not have to deal with such a disorder makes one pretty fortunate. "Conditions like rashes in visible places make people feel embarrased," Ms. Wenig said. "People who deal with these issues tend to be self-conscious."
There were mixed feelings about MindMup. As one student shared, "it helped me learn because it very well separated all the information that we collected into well organized groups." Another said, "I liked how the project first started and how it was kind of like a Prezi, where you can link things to bigger or small subjects which can be easier to understand throughout the process." Some students thought that it was not so user friendly. There were complaints about the way that the content pieces appeared, and the amount of information that could be put on a slide. A beta version of MindMup 2.0 for Google Drive had just been released at the time that these classes started their project. While collaboration is simpler in version 2.0, some features in the original version of the website had not yet been added to the new one. Students worked in both, and the transition was frustrating for some. While the mind mapping itself and collaboration capabilities were often found to be helpful ("a great way to visualize understanding"), the complicated output process was not as popular and had some limitations ("a regular PowerPoint would have been much better"). However, some teams managed to do a great job of showcasing their findings. Students' suggestions were sent to the program's developers in order to improve version 2.0 - making them part of the systems analysis process.
Integration project highlights from previous school years: