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Tag Archives: technology

Groovy Solar-Powered Gadgets for Summertime Fun

U.S. landfills are littered with 2.4 billion batteries every year, leaving toxins in our groundwater supply. Ditching battery-operated gadgets is one way you can make a conscious environmental statement. There are many gadgets that use the sun’s solar power instead of batteries as the main source to fuel energy. Check out these groovy solar-powered gadgets that you and your STEMists can use in your efforts to go green.

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Solar-Powered Lawn Mower

Economical, clean, low-maintenance solar-powered lawn mowers are at the forefront of the fast-growing green, renewable energy movement. A solar-powered lawn mower harnesses the sun’s energy to produce the electrical current required to run the mower.

SOFT Rockers

The solar powered lounge chair recharges you and your gadgets.  Designed by a team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the SOFT Rockers are disguised as outdoor rocking furniture in MIT’s Killian Court.  The unconventional futuristic charging stations use the human power of balance to create an interactive 1.5 axis 35 watt solar tracking system. Users put their body weight in play with a real-time energy harvesting feedback loop that senses how you orient the soft wood rocker to the sun.  Any USB device can be charged using a solar powered SOFT Rocker charging station.

Solar Chargers

Are you tired of hearing the cries of your STEMists when they can’t use their tablet or portable gaming system because it is charging? Solar chargers give you portability and flexibility by providing you charging on the run.  There are many solar charger products available.  Check out Amazon’s listing for many useful solar powered gadgets. We also think these two products are groovy:

The Electree: The Electree, by French designer Vivian Muller is shaped like a bonsai tree, and contains 27 leaves or solar panels that can charge a 13,500mAh battery. Rotatable branches allow users to customize the look of the Electree, just like pruning a real bonsai!

Solar-Powered Gadget Charging Beach Bag: Whether you are at a picnic in the park or building sand castles at the beach, this solar-powered beach bag is the ideal solution for charging your gadgets.  This unique beach bag generates 6.3 watts of power with its flexible solar panel and will keep your cell phone, MP3 player, digital camera, or any other small electronic device charged and ready to use.

Young STEMists are learning from unique solar powered toys and gadgets used in everyday living.  These groovy solar powered gadgets will inspire imagination and may encourage how they work out the experiments and engineering design challenge in the solar-themed Groovy Lab in a Box.  Order your solar-themed box today!

What is STEM, exactly?

If you have followed Groovy Lab in a Box for a while, you may have noticed that we reference “STEM” a lot. However, you may be wondering: “What is STEM, exactly?” Let’s take a look at what STEM is and why it is so important to the United States.

What is STEM

STEM is an acronym for “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.” It’s an acronym to describe a type of curriculum in school – from kindergarten through college. The idea behind STEM is to make the United States more competitive in technology development by bringing up generations of students who can excel in high-tech jobs (we like to call this generation, “STEMists”.) Without these STEMists, the U.S. could face a workplace development crisis.

For example, right now, only 16% of children graduating from American high schools are proficient in math and interested in a STEM career. However, jobs such as systems software developers, medical scientists and biomedical engineers will have the most career opportunities by 2020.

Projected Percentage Increases in STEM Jobs: 2010-2020

As you can see, emphasizing STEM is critical in our schools, and it has not gone unnoticed by our federal government. In May 2013, the National Science and Technology Council issued a five-year strategic plan to respond to the lack of STEM education in our country’s schools. Other organizations, such as the STEM Education Coalition, are working hard to tell policymakers about STEM and how preparing our students is critical to the future of the U.S.

We are doing our part, too. Each month, our subscription service focuses on delivering STEM education to your doorstep and computer. At Groovy Lab in a Box, we believe that children are natural STEMists with an innate sense of curiosity and inquiry that can flourish under the right conditions. We also believe that learning can be fun. We created Groovy Lab in a Box to encourage children to channel their natural STEMists. Whether they are building rockets or creating an electrical circuit, children are enjoying the learning process, and applying analytical skills that will transfer to the classroom, and later, their careers.

So, there you have it: STEM in a nutshell. As you can see, STEM is a vital part of our children’s education – and the future competitiveness of the U.S. Here are some resources where you can learn more about STEM:

Want to bring STEM learning right to your door step? Check out our monthly subscription programs! Your STEMists will love our monthly themed STEM investigations and engineering design challenge.

Infographic courtesy of http://www.ed.gov/stem

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