Fairbanks students light up the town at UAF science academy
June 12, 2014
By Weston Morrow | Fairbanks Daily News Miner: FAIRBANKS — A single bicycle doesn’t typically produce much energy on its own, but in a small University of Alaska Fairbanks lab Wednesday it was enough to light up an entire city.
Granted, the city was only about six square feet and consisted mostly of model houses, model cars and a miniature Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. Despite its small size, the model city presented many challenges similar to an actual city power grid.
The city was created by father and son Charles and Brandon Olszewski as a hands-on representation of the way a city’s actual power grid works. Charles, the engineer, and Brandon, the science teacher, are acting as co-instructors for “The Physics of Extreme Energy,” a two-week course that immerses middle school students in the world of energy-generation through a series of field trips and hands-on activities.
The course accepts about 10 total students going into seventh, eighth and ninth grade. The small class size allows the instructors to give individual attention to each student on a regular basis.