IHS GEMS project receives Bright Ideas grant

Published 11:32 am Thursday, February 15, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Isabella High School Girls Engaged in Math and Science team got a boost for their science fair project from a Central Alabama Electric Cooperative Bright Ideas grant.

GEMS academic coach Jay  LeCroy said the grant was for $500 and is about the seventh Bright Ideas grant he has received.

“The Central Alabama Electric Cooperative has been a great partner for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in Chilton County for the past 11 years,” LeCroy said.

The Isabella team will present their project at the McWane Center in Birmingham this month.

“I love getting to see everyone else’s projects and seeing how other people are getting involved,” team member Olivia Payne said.

She said she also enjoys being at the McWane Center.

LeCroy said teams apply to participate in the fair. This is the 11th year the Isabella GEMS team has been selected to participate.

“The grant was to build a model town and show electric distribution, a model region representing the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative (service area),” Lecroy said.

A goal for the project is to make students aware of how electricity is created and distributed.

Jay and co-coach Nelda LeCroy attended a National Energy Development Project training last summer, which inspired the GEMS project for this year. The teachers also received curriculum and equipment for attending. Nelda LeCroy said CAEC engineers also came to present in her classroom.

Jay LeCroy said the training focused on energy production and how it gets to consumers.

Hydroelectric power from a dam, coal fire and solar panels will be simulated in the display to power mini electric lights.

“It will simulate electric grids,” LeCroy said.

Arduino microprocessors are being used to create a parallel circuit throughout the town, shopping area and to rural areas.

“I have enjoyed getting to stay after school and being able to learn about the electrical components of it,” Payne said.

She has also enjoyed learning to solder and connect the electrical components. Payne said the farm is her favorite portion of the display.

This is her third year participating in the high school team.

Representatives from CAEC also came and talked to the team.

“We got to learn about their jobs and what they do,” Payne said. “I enjoyed that.”

Jay Lecroy said agriscience teacher Jordan Creel helped the team by cutting wood for the base and providing a space for the students to work.