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Fast-Paced Program Powers Hamden Hall Student's Energy Knowledge

The students, a mix of seventh- and eighth-graders, opted for problem-solving and troubleshooting on what should have been a day off from school.

Students at Hamden Hall learned about the principles of fuel cell technology Friday. Credit: Contributed.
Students at Hamden Hall learned about the principles of fuel cell technology Friday. Credit: Contributed.



Learning the basic principles of fuel cell technology proved exciting and fast-paced for a group of Middle Schoolers last Friday as they descended on the science lab for a morning of hydrogen-powered car racing.

The students, a mix of seventh- and eighth-graders, opted for problem-solving and troubleshooting on what should have been a day off from school. According to eighth-grader Karus Sabio, learning about the nature of energy and thermodynamics was more desirable than other activities.

“We have curiosity about these things and wanted to attend,” she said.

The program was an offshoot of Hamden Hall’s Science, Innovation & Design Program and led by Dr. Frank Gasparro and Dr. Kelly Ryan. Geared towards Middle Schoolers, the material covered went beyond the regular science curriculum – and included some eye-opening lab time.

“This is a collaborative effort to get fuel cells up and running,” said Doc Gasparro as students worked in teams to properly power their fuel cell vehicles.

Eighth-grader Chris Duffy and his cohorts were successful in their mission. 

“We learned that all you need is a little light and a few connections to make a car run on hydrogen,” said Chris. 

A power point presentation and some interactive Smart Board displays fueled conversation about global energy sources and future modifications to society’s power needs.

“Solar transformation is inevitable,” Doc Gasparro told his young charges.

A second foray into the lab during the three-hour program yielded a hydrogen demonstration for students.

Hamden Hall’s Science, Innovation & Design Program is a Signature Program that creates a culture of innovation for students by allowing them to conduct independent learning and research in conjunction with faculty mentors. Established in 2012, the SID program challenges top-performing students to go beyond the parameters of Hamden Hall’s already rigorous curriculum and undertake goal-oriented projects that expose them to a panoply of skills in scientific research, technology, public speaking, and more.

Currently, Michael Crockett, class of 2015, Akhil Trehan, class of 2016 and Jing-Jing Wang, class of 2016, are working on various independent projects while a dozen other Upper Schoolers are in the process of developing projects.

On Friday, February 7, a fuel cell powered car will be on campus for all to explore.

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