During the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) conference held last week in Washington D.C. there were some amazing projects highlighted. Many involved highly technical projects being contracted by Federal Agencies or the construction industry. However, one project was geared to high school students and is being piloted in Fairfax, Va.
In June 2013, 40 Edison Academy and Edison High School CTE students from the heating, air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration class and electrical construction and engineering classes, along with technical education and engineering students, completed phase I of a pilot of the Mars City Facility Ops Challenge curriculum created by the Total Learning Research Institute, along with partners the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Designed to introduce high school students to careers in the building sciences and space science, the Mars City Facility Ops Challenge provides an exciting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) experience requiring young people to study and operate a simulated smart building on Mars.
The challenge is a team-based project that engages students in planning and working with real world problems while introducing them to the concepts of smart building systems that control water, heat and cooling systems, lights, electricity, air supply and air quality, all of which are based on actual atmospheric conditions on Mars.
The president of the Total Research Learning Institute stated, “Even if the students never go into the construction or facilities management fields, they will always occupy buildings. So learning how basic systems work will be a lifetime benefit.”
For more information about the project, visit http://www.nibs.org/default.asp?page=stem.