TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

High School STEM Talk on Model S

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Half Dollar Bill, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. Half Dollar Bill

    Half Dollar Bill Traveller, teacher, poet, accountant

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    553
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    I volunteered to talk about the MS at the high school where I graduated. Besides a sense of pride in being an owner, the high school is located in the electron desert of northeast Pennsylvania and I figured it could be a neat experience for the kids. The high school has a large foreign student population, especially from Asia so that made the offer even more interesting for me. We now live in northern VA, by the way.

    What I initially imagined as a one class hour-long interaction with the kids has now taken on a life of its own. I was given the name of the freshman STEM science professor as a contact and she said the topic fit well in the freshman curriculum. She then told me that the STEM class actually consisted of five periods with about twenty kids in each period. So my immediate thought was “In for a penny, in for a pound” and I might as well make a day out of the experience.

    I figure most of the fun they’ll get from the experience will be seeing the car and exploring the inside, but I’ve also put together info on safety, software, all wheel drive, autopilot and the battery. We’ve agreed on a structure where about half the time in each class is for me to talk and answer general questions while the other half is spent with the car on Q&A.

    So for the newest complication, the professor told me that they are going to tell the whole school about the visit and let anyone with a free period during the day attend the classes. I’m considering suggesting to her that they also ought to let the local news outlets know and maybe they’ll send a reporter or a camera crew. Then maybe I’ll have a drive/ride sign-up sheet for anyone interested after-school; I suspect there will be a few adults in the classes that get curious. :biggrin:

    I admit, a big piece of me that wonders if I’m in over my head. But I’ve had the car for over a year and really enjoy it as well as the forums so I think I’m reasonably prepared. I am quietly hoping that this could generate some positive PR for EV’s and charging infrastructure because if any area of the country needs it, northeast PA does.

    Oh, and I met someone from Tesla Marketing at the Tysons Corners VA opening this weekend and they are going to send me Tesla stickers for the class. That was very nice of them to help me out.

    The presentation is in early April, so if you would like to express any support, sympathy or mockery at my sheer lunacy now is your opportunity.
     
  2. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3,665
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    I've done something similar (albeit with my Roadster). 4 classes of kids, back-to-back.

    You'll enjoy it, and the kids will get a lot out of it. Oh, and no matter what you say, your car will be covered with sticky little fingerprints by the end of the day :biggrin:
     
  3. trils0n

    trils0n 2013 P85

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,295
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Sounds like it will be fun. I've shown my car and done extensive explanations a number of times and it's exhausting, but rewarding.
     
  4. sickfox

    sickfox Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2013
    Messages:
    386
    Location:
    San Francisco
    sounds like fun... kids are our future. after your talk, ask them how would they improve that piece of technology. who knows, they may be the next Elon and you're their inspiration! :wink:
     
  5. WeazL

    WeazL Moderator - Hawaii

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2013
    Messages:
    600
    Location:
    Oahu, Hawaii
    Not sure how many kids you're planning on letting sit in the vehicle, but I assume you will have the car powered "ON" (via Neutral w/E-Brake) the entire time so that the displays are all lit up. I would suggest blocking one of the wheels as a safety measure given how easily a student could [unintentionally] put it into drive. As a former teacher I applaud you--you won't be disappointed--the enthusiasm and smiles will be well worth it! :cool:
     
  6. mgboyes

    mgboyes Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2014
    Messages:
    811
    Location:
    United Kingdom

    The best way I know of to eliminate any risk of the car moving is to plug a charging cable in.
     
  7. Half Dollar Bill

    Half Dollar Bill Traveller, teacher, poet, accountant

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    553
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    I was planning to do this. First for the safety factor but also hoping to have a 120 outlet nearby to show the charging versatility. Disables the shift stalk even with just the one end plugged into the car, though.

    @trils0n - my wife's a teacher and has warned me about the emotional/physical investment.

    @markwj - I was going to ask the last class of the day to wash it but then I'd also have to teach them the two bucket method and that might need another class :)

    @sickfox - I like that idea. Thanks.
     
  8. Chipper

    Chipper Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,182
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Mockery? Lunacy? Heck NO!!! But I WOULD be interested in your research. My son is going to be teaching STEM in the Fall and I would very much like to do this for him and his kids!
     
  9. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3,665
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    When I did it, showing the charging was a highlight for the kids. We talked about having a socket nearby, but in the end I just showed the cable with the standard household outlet, then plugged the other end into the car. The kids got the point, and saw how quick and simple it was.

    I also had 3 questions I asked the kids:

    #1 What came first - petrol cars or electric cars?
    #2 How many battery cells do you guess are in this car?
    #3 Where's the exhaust?
     
  10. Half Dollar Bill

    Half Dollar Bill Traveller, teacher, poet, accountant

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    553
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    I found the TMC thread with the battery tear-down pictures and was thinking of using it.

    @Chipper - you want my file? Not quite sure what you mean by "research". I assume I can email it to you through the forum.
     
  11. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,816
    Location:
    Wexford, PA
    I did something similar but *much* smaller in scope for the Middle School battery car race day a year or two ago...kids loved it, and I have never seen more fingerprints on 17" screen before or since!
     
  12. Half Dollar Bill

    Half Dollar Bill Traveller, teacher, poet, accountant

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    553
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Presentation in one week.
    I'm on campus all day; besides the multiple STEM classes, there are a few other science classes joining the fun.
    I've got my talking points all set and I've got a way to use a projector to mirror an ipad screen during the classroom time which will give me the flexibility of being among the students while controlling the presentation.
    The good news is that I basically get to park in the center of campus all day so I'm hoping there are plenty of casual conversations. Well over 100 students in the captive audiences, though.
    Just hoping that the weather cooperates and the hands-on time isn't forced indoors due to rain; Evey's looking forward to getting some air with the top down and the windows open :)
     
  13. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Messages:
    14,241
    Location:
    Columbia River Gorge
    I did something similar with my Roadster awhile back - but it was a different grade level every hour.

    All the charts and detailed info are good ... but the stuff that got the most interest was showing a battery cell (you can buy laptop batteries just about anywhere where computers are sold), asking them how far the car could go on that. Another was comparing the acceleration to a roller coaster that many of them were likely to have ridden and know how fast it is (I used California Screaming at Disneyland). You can get roller coaster acceleration speeds usually just by searching online.

    Have fun. I love working with kids.
     
  14. Half Dollar Bill

    Half Dollar Bill Traveller, teacher, poet, accountant

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    553
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Oh boy. Oh boy. OH BOY!
    I have to make the time tomorrow to post a summary with pix that does the event justice but it's not going to happen right now after a whole day at the school.


    I was joined by BOTH Grinnin' from TMC forum and DavidB. DavidB was literally a last minute addition, having bumped into Grinnin' at the Hagerstown supercharger on his way to PA and learning of the event. Both were welcome additions not only for sharing their cars, which helped greatly because some of the classes had 30-40 students, but also for sharing their experiences and expertise.


    We got local TV coverage from both WNEP and WBRE but I haven't found their video segments online yet. I expect print media coverage in Saturday's Citizen's Voice and Times Leader papers and I'll post those links when available as well.


    The students were very receptive. Some of them did their homework and came very prepared with good questions about the car. Most just liked being able to fiddle with the touchscreen. I talked to one student from Spain that was excited her country is getting superchargers and another student from Hong Kong that was happy to see the cars up close.


    I was already asked if I'd be interested in doing it again. I replied that I'll be at the Reach the Beach event next weekend but I'm open the weekend after that:)


    We had a great time and I heartily thank both gentlemen for their contribution. Maybe we need some representation from the opposite sex the next time around? Just sayin'. More to come.
     
  15. cmu5p

    cmu5p Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2015
    Messages:
    223
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    I will be in/around PA area May 8-10 weekend. I love talking to fellow girls about interest in Science. Lmk your next event and I'll see if it could work out. What a great way to promote the car and stimulate interest from the young 'uns. Your excitement is palpable and appreciated.
    Claire
     
  16. Half Dollar Bill

    Half Dollar Bill Traveller, teacher, poet, accountant

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    553
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    While the intent was serious, the timing was in jest. I plan to see if we can set something up for next fall. I will keep you in mind!
     
  17. chriSharek

    chriSharek Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2015
    Messages:
    875
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    Good on you!
     
  18. Half Dollar Bill

    Half Dollar Bill Traveller, teacher, poet, accountant

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2013
    Messages:
    553
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    You’ll have to pardon me for retracing a bit but it’s important to the summary.

    So my original intent was to volunteer my time for the day to discuss the car and EV technology with the STEM classes. However about a week before the event Grinnin’ got in touch and asked to participate. I didn’t count on the offer but realized that two cars are better than one so I contacted the school for permission to add him and they happily agreed. This would be Grinnin’s first long distance trip in his new D and he didn’t want to make the direct trip to northeast PA from VA so on his way up he decided to stop at Hagerstown. That’s where he bumped into DavidB. They got to talking and upon realizing that he had no immediate plans, DavidB decided to give me a call to inquire about joining the fun. I didn’t know if I could get him added at the last minute but the school was agreeable and we made arrangements to all meet the next morning.

    We all pretty much arrived at the same time on campus the next day and DavidB sought an outdoor outlet since he didn’t get a chance to charge completely upon getting into town. We combined extension cords and played around with a few plugs until getting one to work. By the time we checked out the room for the indoor sessions and reviewed the day’s schedule with our hosts the students began to arrive for the first class of the day. We would be presenting to five classes during the day, with two classes containing 30 to 40 students each and the remainder containing about 15-20 each. We would try to keep the indoor sessions to about 20 minutes and allow the students another 20 minutes outside to explore the cars and discuss features with each owner. During time without classes we were either conducting interviews with media or discussing the cars with other students that happened by with a free period. By the time the afternoon rolled around I realized that I hadn’t taken any pictures, completely missing my opportunity in the morning to set up the GoPro in time lapse mode. I snapped a few in the afternoon but I’m hoping to get ahold of the school’s Media department shots.

    The indoor sessions consisted of short personal intros, discussions about charging and superchargers, discussions about the car’s software and general questions. The school has a healthy population of Asian and European students and their interest in the car and technology was especially gratifying. There were multiple questions about battery degradation and the car’s speed. There was one lad that asked about the feasibility of putting a supercharger in your home which led to an extended discussion about how fast you really need to charge at home. Another student asked me when a pick-up truck model was coming out (volunteer firefighter and scuba diver, by the way, so lots of gear. Props to her!) When we got to discussing long distance travel, the students seemed impressed with DavidB’s experiences up and down the east coast, Grinnin’s planned trip to Phoenix and back and my planned DC-Seattle-San Diego-DC excursion. My apologies if the summary seems one-sided as the three of us did not have an opportunity to debrief after the event, so hopefully Grinnin’ or DavidB can add their experiences.

    I was excited to show off the car’s hidden features but very few students got the Spinal Tap volume reference. It made me a bit sad to realize that I’m old enough to be in on the joke; at the same time I’m hopeful that they’ll eventually get around to viewing and loving the movie. They did like the submarine and Jules Verne reference.

    The group dynamic with Grinnin’ and DavidB worked out really well as we brought different backgrounds and perspectives to the conversation. I’m personally grateful for their participation as it made car demos much easier and really showed off some of the diversity in the owner community. It only occurred to me now that there’s no way I would have thought about doing this with another vehicle. While I didn’t use all the material I prepped, I didn’t feel like it was wasted time either. Who else owns a car that makes them smarter?

    If there is another opportunity, I’m kicking around the idea of combining it with a larger sociability run. The northeast/north central piece of the state really needs a supercharger to help support that concept, though. But I believe fun was had by all and hopefully there will be a chance to do it again. I thank those of you that supplied suggestions or material for the day’s effort.
     
  19. DavidB

    DavidB Aug 2013 S85

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2013
    Messages:
    279
    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    I'm glad I took the time to be there. It was a good event for the kids, and I think we made some converts!
     

Share This Page