Chicago Students Build Virtual Alternative Energy Vehicles After School
A group of middle-school students at Chase Elementary School
in Chicago spent 10 weeks building virtual alternative energy vehicles
They did so with the help of volunteers from Citizen Schools,
a nonprofit organization that works to expand the learning day for
low-income communities, and Hikvision,
a maker of video surveillance
Volunteers from the company and the nonprofit visited
school once a week for the engineering design project that had as its
overarching goal the enhancement of the students' science, technology,
engineering and math (STEM) skills.
In the after-school project, students were able to
structures and vehicles, test their load-bearing capacity using
then apply what they had learned to an understanding of how alternative
As a culmination of the 10-week program, the students
able to "teach back" to teachers, parents and community members what
learned during a WOW! Event held May 15.
"These opportunities are crucial for students in many
areas," said Citizen Schools CEO Steve Rothstein. "By the time they have
reached the sixth grade, they typically receive 6,000 fewer hours of
and personal enrichment opportunities than students in higher-income
"Coming into the classroom every week and seeing how
the students got was an incredible experience," said Hikvision sales
Ahmed Elsayed, who was a volunteer in the program. "Their desire for
was palpable and I’m proud to be part of a program that fostered that."
Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.