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Brookwood Efficient Cookstove Project Featured on Edutopia Website

Click to visit Edutopia and read Boss's article: Stove Project Sparks Global Youth Action

Founded by Lucas, the legendary filmmaker and Star Wars creator whose donations fund the mission, Edutopia and the Foundation’s goal is “to reform and improve K-12 education.”

“Education is the foundation of our democracy - the stepping-stones for our youth to reach their full potential,” Lucas says. “My own experience in public school was quite frustrating. I was often bored. Occasionally, I had a teacher who engaged my curiosity and motivated me to learn. Those were the teachers I really loved. I wondered, ‘Why can't school be engaging all of the time?’As a father, I've felt the imperative to transform schooling even more urgently. “

He adds, “Our Foundation documents and disseminates the most exciting classrooms where these innovations are taking place. By shining the spotlight on these inspiring teachers and students, we hope others will consider how their work can promote change in their own schools.” The foundation emphasizes hands-on, project-based learning and highlights, on its website, innovative teaching efforts that are in place and working in classrooms.”

Boss’s article covers the many facets of Brookwood’s cookstove project, highlighting the hands-on scientific and engineering lessons it instills as well as the unique global learning connections and humanitarian education it offers.  In the project Brookwood students team up with peers in Brazil, Africa, and India on a project with lifesaving potential. They are engaged in a collaborative engineering learning experience but are also absorbing knowledge about the serious health hazards faced by some three billion people around the world who routinely cook with wood or charcoal. As Boss writes, Lehrer has created, “a collaborative learning experience that uses global issues to engage students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).”

The project also captured attention as Lehrer and two MIT student partners competed recently in the MIT IDEAS Global Challenge, a prestigious annual ideas/innovation competition at the university. In the competition, teams compete to solve global issues with innovative solutions and win cash prizes which they then use to implement their project.

Although they did not win a prize, they earned seventh place in the Community Choice voting, after running in the top three for an extended time.. “The buzz created around the fact that we were in the top three for so long has led to some really cool other directions, and we had some great responses to our project. It was an amazing experience to be so closely involved with all the amazing projects that had been entered into the competition,” Lehrer says.