There’s a lot going on in Haiti, all the time. Sights, sounds, smells, situations. It can feel overwhelming sometimes. We play chess, or rather I teach chess to calm the mind. I want students to find a refuge in chess where their minds can be creative, competitive and diligent, free of other distractions. And, I’m all for activities that allow us to model Christ-like attitudes and behavior. And, of course, because chess is fun!
My students like chess for a lot of different reasons. Some like chess because it can be competitive if you want it to be, but it doesn’t have to be. Some like it because ‘you get to think sneaky’, which I hope means strategically. Others like chess because it’s a diversion.
This year I introduced chess to the 7th grade. I had no idea how excited they would be. Normally, I teach each incoming freshman class how to play and each Spring we have a high school tournament. Chess club meets every Tuesday from 2:45 to around 4:00. I don’t have the same group of students each and every week, but this year the group is bigger and younger and having more fun than ever before.
Chess is mental torture.
– Garry Kasparov
I suppose chess could be seen as a sort of self-inflicted mental torture. My 9th graders probably think that when they’re first learning, but once it takes hold…watch out!
There’s a jillion studies from all over the world that prove that playing chess makes kids smarter and helps them perform better academically. That’s all just icing on the cake. We’re in it for the fun and friendship.
If you visit us, be sure to stop by the school on Tuesday afternoon for a fun game.
Our JuiceBox (solar rechargeable power pack) project is moving ahead. If this is the first you’re reading about it, please check out the project page for more information and how you can help.
The 7200 mAh Li-Poly battery packs have been ordered from Shenzhen Canpower Electronics in Shenzhen, China. I had originally hoped to source the packs in the US, but I wasn’t able to find a custom-pack manufacturer that could meet our pricing requirements. Material sourcing and manufacturing are part of the educational aspects of the JuiceBox project so, it’s all good. UPDATE: Li-Poly packs have been delivered to the U.S.
I have one more solar panel sample to check out. It’s a 5 watt panel that should arrive within the next week or so. Our current design uses a 3.4 watt panel. It works okay, it just charges a bit slow. So, we’ll test with a 5 watt and check the price point. UPDATE:Shipped 10/17
The charge controller uses yellow and green SMT (tiny, surface mount) LEDs to indicate whether the pack is Charging or Done. When we put the lid on our enclosure those LEDs won’t be visible so we’re making a .75 x .75 inch circuit board to hold larger yellow and green LEDs that will be visible through two small holes in the enclosure. I’ve assembled four of these LED pigtails so far and have a student willing to help me fashion the remaining 22 over the coming weeks. UPDATE:Waiting on resistors and prototyping boards to arrive via MFI mail here in Haiti.
The next step will be ordering the aluminum enclosures.