Recently a team of Oregon City Service Learning Academy (OSCLA) staff were hand picked by the Lemelson Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to conduct research as part of future student learning opportunities. The OSCLA staff were flown to Massachusetts and worked in the MIT labs to help create science and technology learning and teaching kits that will be used across the country as part of the JV InvenTeams Program.
InvenTeams are comprised of high school students, educators, and mentors that receive up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems of their choosing. Through the JV InvenTeams program OCSLA has formed four of the thirteen JV InvenTeams in Oregon.
While at MIT, the OSCLA staff helped create two future teaching units. The first unit focused on sound, with the goal of building an instrument and speaker. To better understand sound, the unit first explores electromagnetism and human anatomy, breaking down those topics into concepts students can easily grasp, then apply to the materials provided to invent an instrument of their individual design.
The second of the two units focused on optics, in particular, camera lenses. The unit will cover how shape and material of a lens can affect focal length, angle of view and zoom, and how aperture affects brightness and depth of field. To better understand lenses, optical calculations, biomimicry and camera prototyping were explored and applied as the team attempted to build a camera lens.
"This is incredibly exciting,” said Connie Curteman, Oregon City School Board Vice Chair. "I am constantly amazed by the creativity and enthusiasm of our teachers."
Using existing kits from Lemelson-MIT Program, OCSLA’s freshman and sophomores designed and made shoe soles while studying materials, chemistry, and molding. While studying circuits and textiles, students created a wallet that lit up when opened and other textiles of their own designing.