When you turn on your stovetop, do you ever wonder how efficient it is at heating your pot and the food inside? While that may not be top of mind for you, the efficiency of cookstoves has a huge impact on the quality of life--from safety issues to health impacts--of many people around the world. Engineers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have been working for more than a decade to build a better cookstove.
This story of designing a new stove for families in developing countries is the first in KQED’s new Engineering Is… series of e-books that focus on the intersection of engineering and science. The new national science education standards, the Next Generation Science Standards, emphasize engineering design as an essential part of science education. With the “Engineering Is…” e-books, middle- and high-school students can learn about scientists and engineers working together across disciplines to investigate issues, make discoveries and develop solutions.
The new e-book, Engineering Is Saving the World with Cookstoves, tells the story of the need for a new design for cookstoves in Darfur and how researchers have worked to make that happen. Videos, animations and interactive graphics explain the design process, and provide a deep dive into science concepts, like combustion. The book also contains a career spotlight video of an engineer that is working on the new stoves, and video profiles of others helping with the project. Students across the country can engage in discussion with each other about indoor air pollution in the developing world via Twitter through an embedded social media project. There is also an opportunity for students to interview engineers in their own communities, and create and share media pieces based on those interviews.