Summer studies for the class of 2020

With both the energy and climate crisis looming, it’s clear that the type of engineering work done by the time today’s 10-year-old graduates college in 2020 will be different. Hopefully, talented young minds can solve both problems, especially if they’re encouraged from an early age.

That’s the motivation of two new kits from Thames & Kosmos (see our previous review of their two hydrogen kits).

The Power House (ages 12 and up) is a beefy experiment kit that covers a wide range of sustainable living topics in a practical way. The premise of the 100-page experiment book is a mythical Dragon Island with marooned settlers learning to construct a self-sustaining society with modern amenities. It’s a neat concept, kind of a Robinson Crusoe meets Bill McDonough story. Its also based on the author’s real life experiences trying to live off the grid on a Greek island.

Many aspects of sustainability are covered by the fun experiments, including evaporative cooling, biofuels (the kit includes an oil press!), solar, wind, food preservation, and electricity management. Much like the more advanced hydrogen experiment kit, this is perfect for an older child that really wants to dig in and experiment for an entire summer.

The Wind Power Kit (ages 8 and up) is a more accessible and affordable experiment package focused on wind power. 20 experiments teach kids about windmill design, power, and basic aerodynamics. The kit offers more advanced lessons for older kids, but even the younger ones will learn from building the windmill and getting it running.

We like both these kits, and are hopeful they’ll do their part to training the class of 2020. We’re going to need their help.

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