The Tennessee Valley Chapter of Women in Defense is continuing our long standing efforts to work with local schools to provide STEM tools to science teachers for hands-on use in their classrooms. We work with the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department of the University of Alabama in Huntsville to have these tools designed and built by engineering student teams and then donated to the local schools. The ability of the students to see scientific and engineering principles demonstrated by tools they can directly interact with has proven to increase student interest in pursuing higher education and careers in the technical disciplines. The following list details the tools that we have donated thus far.

Mt Carmel Elementary School
Interactive Multimedia Learning Stations (4)

Williams Middle School
Ballistic Pendulum
Trebuchet Catapult
Orrery (solar system model)
CO2 Racecar Launch System
Tabletop Catapult

Providence Middle School
Earthquake Simulator
System-of-Systems Pulley Demonstrator

Discovery Middle School
Wimshurst Machine (Static electricity generator)
Tabletop Wind Tunnel

Guntersville High School
Fluid Flow Demonstrator

Sci-Quest Hands On Science Center
Solar Roller Coaster
Solar Competitive Race Cars
Energy Racers
Hybrid Engine
Ping Pong Ball Shooting Gallery (Space Pong)

WID TVC is currently funding the design and development of three STEM tools. The first is a Marble Roller Coaster for Mt Carmel Elementary School that will demonstrate the principles of motion and kinetic and potential energy. The roller coaster will be stationed outside in the school’s courtyard that is utilized as an outdoor classroom. It will be designed for the students to be able to race three marbles simultaneously and to withstand seasonal weather patterns. A second UAH student design team was engaged during Summer semester to design the lift mechanisms that will raise the marbles to the top of the roller coaster. These two teams will be merged during Fall semester to complete and deliver the roller coaster.

The second tool is a Water Distillation Unit for Discovery Middle School that will demonstrate the process for distilling water. It will be designed for use in science laboratories and reside on a cart for mobility between labs. This project was begun during Spring semester and will be completed and delivered prior to the end of this calendar year. Not only is this tool a demonstrator for the scientific principles involved with water distillation, including vaporization and condensation, it also serves as a cost savings means for Discovery Middle School in that the school will no longer have to purchase distilled water for science experiments, but will be able to make their own distilled water.

The third tool is a Mobile Experiment Cart that was specifically requested by Sci-Quest Hands On Science Center. This cart will be deployed on the floor of the museum at various locations and provide space for students to participate in a wide variety of science experiments. There will be storage for items used in experiments, safety devices, and explanatory materials, along with space to actually perform the experiments, and seating for student participants.