Power for Developing Countries

This small-group activity uses engineering concepts to design energy systems for three off-the-grid towns in Mali, Ethiopia, and Namibia.

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Kushal Seetharam
University of Colorado; Duke University

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

This activity is one way to integrate engineering and design concepts into a class without using equipment or a lab setting.

A possible extension activity would be to consider some US towns that are facing an uncomfortable transition away from coal. Colstrip, Montana, or towns in Wyoming or West Virginia are concerned for their futures. Is there a way to apply this same concept for these coal towns? Do they have other ways of generating energy, exporting electricity, or generating income and jobs? This extension activity uses the same skills as students develop in this activity and applies them to a nearby location.

Students, especially at the middle and lower high school grades, may need help understanding the pre-activity reading documents as well as reports and other documents provided for research on the local communities, energy sources and needs, etc.

Literacy and Resources