The Fuel Cell Challenge has been designed to supplement the curriculum of a middle school science teacher. Like all AWIM challenges, the Fuel Cell Challenge will join together teachers, students, and industry volunteers in an exploration of physical science while addressing essential mathematic and scientific concepts and skills.
In the Fuel Cell Challenge, students receive a letter from a fictitious toy company, Green Design Toys (GDT). Green Design Toys is interested in receiving new designs for toys that are environmentally friendly and are powered with alternative power sources and fuels. This letter asks students to work in teams to design a vehicle that can meet specific performance goals. Students are asked to keep a design log in which they record the results of experiments, design sketches of their vehicles, and performance data. The program culminates in student presentations of their working models and a discussion of the design teams' efforts to address the challenge.
This challenge presents students with the opportunity to investigate a new and developing technology; the fuel cell. Over the course of the curriculum, a variety of activities introduce students to the development and use of fuel cells, types of fuel cells, and hands-on experiments with a PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cell to produce electricity to power an electric motor.