Middle school Innovators Club builds wind turbine from bicycles
Independence Middle School students in the Innovators Club are working together to build a wind turbine using parts from a bicycle. Once completed, the turbine will be used to generate electricity for the hydroponic growing system that the Technology Education students in Mr. Spitznogle’s classes are working on, as well as a composting system that will be constructed on the school’s property by an Eagle Scout. Every Thursday the students meet after school in the Steel City Collaboratory area off of the Library Commons. The purpose of the group is to incorporate the principles of the 4C’s–Creativity, Critical thinking, Communication and Collaboration — to create various STEAM projects. Students meet and let their minds take them wherever their ideas lead them. The group is open to anyone who has an interest. Attendance varies, but there are usually around 20 students each week, with the number rising to as high as 50 students. Last school year the students built a go-kart and were able to show off their work at the recent STEAM Showcase, hosted by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. Students have varied reasons for wanting to be a part of this group, but everybody said they participate because it’s “fun.” Many students like the creative aspects of the club and many of the students already aspire to be engineers, so the club allows them to develop some of the necessary skills they will need to be successful.