NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- New Canaan Country School ninth-graders recently attended the Global Student Leaders Summit on “The Future of Energy” during a weeklong trip to Reykjavik, Iceland this spring.
While building a deeper understanding of renewable and sustainable energy production, the students were also working collaboratively with small international teams, using creative problem solving strategies and building their own leadership skills.
The students -- Lucy Carroll, Holly Diomede, Daltanette Mitchell, Meghan Musto, Grady Norton, Roan Scanlon-Black and Chris Zegarra -- attended three days of workshops and keynote sessions led by innovators, entrepreneurs, inventors and scientists, including a Nobel Laureate and the president of Iceland.
Inspired by their stories, the students then broke off into “innovation groups” to create their own solutions to complex global energy problems.
“Basically the idea of the conference was to use the design-thinking process and end up with a prototype,” Musto said. “So, at the beginning, we all shared stories, got really inspired and then with our groups, we tried to develop a solution to someone’s energy problem. And then we’d actually make a prototype and present them to each other in sort of a science fair.”
“They encouraged us to take the craziest ideas and then combine them,” said Norton, whose team won second place in the judge’s vote category for their invention. His group was tasked with finding a way to conserve energy for overnight charging of cell phones and other personal tech devices.
“You’d plug in your devices at night and they’d get to 100 percent quickly and the rest of the night they would still be sucking energy.” Norton added. “We came up with this idea for a bed mat that uses heat from your body and also uses kinetic energy from you tossing and turning to power the device.”
“I really learned that you don’t have to be a scientific genius to make a difference in your community,” Carroll said. “You just have to have the motivation and be able to go to people around you and ask for help.”