January 12, 2015

Project Description

For December, we began construction of our algae culture device that will potentially be presented at Eurekafest. We have built a table to hold the device and paddle prototype. We began tests with our first mealworm agitating device to find how much substrate we could extract from the mealworm containers in a certain timeframe and voltage of power. We have begun the process of building our solar dehydrator: our technical group has come up with a design and materials required. Construction will begin and hopefully be complete by the end of January to prepare for testing.

Progress during the last month

At the very first day of December, our InvenTeam had a corporate presentation to local engineering programs and tech companies. This gave us experience in public speaking and how to improvise for our next presentation. The stress of the project has been kind of overwhelming for our team this month, and we’ve become a little disorganized. So, we spent a meeting breaking down our project components and going back to the basics. We mapped out our ultimate goals and the means to attain them. We’ve received much help through this process from Mr. Reeder, one of our electrical engineering mentors and a member’s father. Thank you Mr. Reeder! For our various tanks of algae, we have paused CO2 tests after deciding that we must figure the basics first. So, we have begun experiments and recorded data to find the optimal pH and temperature for maximum growth as well as the absorbency of the green algae that is ready for harvest. We’ve introduced nitrogen phosphate to one of the tanks to find the effects of this new source of nutrients on the algae.

Instead of handpicking and counting our worm population, we have decided to find their mass. In addition, we have been taking small samples of beetles, exposing them to various temperatures, and collecting data to find the most viable environment for growth and reproducibility. This will give us a better idea of how to maximize our mealworm population growth and thus food production.

Goals for upcoming month
We plan to have all three components of our project completed in time for the testing stage in February. This will be a difficult task, but with time and commitment we will be able to get it done. We want to present our project to more companies and businesses and create partnerships with some of them.

Networking
For December, we began construction of our algae culture device that will potentially be presented at Eurekafest. We have built a table to hold the harvester and paddle prototype. We have come up with a shirt design to sell to students and teachers at our school and community.

Teamwork
In mid-December, our team, along with our mentors, had our group-bonding activity—laser tag and dinner at TGIF’s. Everyone had a great time!