Official Blog of the Education Exchange Corps

Monday, July 1, 2013

Desperate Times Call For... Engineers! Homemade AC Systems

The heat can be brutal in St. Louis, and it can be devastating in a well-insulated brick school building when the AC system is broken.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Clay Elementary!

Normally, the AC system works just fine. Just a few days ago, children hesitated to visit the frigid confines of the gymnasium. Without AC, that hesitation transforms into lethargy as the heat seeps every ounce of energy from the school's inhabitants.

Hey, we warned these kids we were going medieval.

Last summer, the three week program was cut in half because the AC system failed. This year, I had nightmares of a repeat. After researching how the world existed pre-AC, I realized three things:

1) Either the world really is hotter or our hardiness is not what it used to be.
2) I would like authorization to grow large plants on school grounds throughout St. Louis City.
3) I can build an AC unit.

The latter of the three points proved to be the most important. All you need is a fan, water, and a freezer.

I gathered my middle school kids on my first full day. "Knights of Justice, the Kingdom needs you! Today you are engineers!" We spent much of the day teaching the rest of the groups how to make AC units, how to use the scientific method, and that science is cool (get it!?).

We even talked freezing point depression. Put a bunch of salt in water and the freezing/melting point is lower. Just try taking an ice cube in your hand, pouring salt on it, and squeezing that sucker hard (in the other hand, just squeeze an ice cube without salt). Beware frostbite thanks to the very cold layer of salt water that doubles as a good conductor of heat.

Anyway, tomorrow we'll have salt water baths straight from the freezer sitting in front of fans blowing cold air.

Yeah, the kids did that.

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