About our Partnership

Pepco and Discovery Education have joined forces with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington to support youth achievement in science, technology, engineering, and math with an exclusive initiative available only at select Boys & Girls Club sites. Collectively known as STEM, these crucial elements of 21st Century education are integral to success, both in school and out.

With the Pepco STEM Club, we hope to ignite the intellect and imaginations of our children so they can prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. Pepco, a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc.  (NYSE: POM), delivers safe, reliable and affordable electric service to more than 800,000 customers in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Investigate how energy works and discover how small bursts of creativity can unlock huge potential for the future. The learning activities and digital resources contained within this online curriculum allow students to explore the concept of energy.

Introduction

This introduction will provide you with the tips and tools you’ll need to make your STEM Club a success. See how you can leverage hands-on activities, reading passages, video segments, interactive simulations, and group discussions to engage and excite your afterschool groups.

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Module 1: What is Energy

Students will have the opportunity to expand their understanding of energy through meaningful projects, explore energy-related careers, and reflect on their new and broadened comprehension of energy in their STEM journals.

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Activity: Sun Angle vs. Heating Effect

The amount of heating of a surface due to the sun is affected by the angle the surface forms with the sun. When light from the sun is absorbed by a surface, some of the light is converted into heat.

(75 min, outside) Download PDF

Activity: How Do We Measure Energy?

As with other quantities such as mass and force, energy can be quantitatively measured. A common unit of measure for energy is the British thermal unit or Btu.

(75 min, inside) Download PDF

Module 2: Working with Energy

In this module, students extend their understanding of energy and how people use and work with it as they develop and apply concepts of energy sources, energy receivers, energy transfer, energy chains, and energy storage.

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Activity: A Rube Goldberg Energy Chain

Energy can be transferred from one object to another to another. This is known as an energy chain.

(60 min, inside/outside) Download PDF

Activity: Hydropower

Moving water has kinetic energy. This energy can be used to do work and move things. Getting work from stored water involves an energy source, energy transfer, and an energy receiver.

(75 min, inside/outside) Download PDF

Activity: An Electric Circuit

The volume of an object can be found by submersing it in water and measuring how much water has been displaced.

(75 min, inside) Download PDF

Activity: Storing Energy Up a Hill

Energy can be stored as gravitational potential energy by moving a round object up a hill. Some of the potential energy can be retrieved by letting the object roll downhill.

(60 min, inside) Download PDF

Module 3: How We Generate and Use Energy

Students will learn about the history of our use of energy, and explore how we generate and use energy through the use of renewable and nonrenewable resources.

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Activity: Energy Trapped in the Earth

Earth materials can hold and transfer heat. Geothermal energy involves using the heat of the earth to heat water, create steam, and generate electricity.

(75 min, inside) Download PDF

Activity: Let's Drill for Oil

Oil can be found in pockets deep beneath the surface of the Earth.

(75 min, inside) Download PDF

Activity: Model Waterwheel

A waterwheel or turbine can be used to convert the energy of falling water to electrical energy.

(75 min, inside) Download PDF

Module 4: Environmental Impact of Using Energy

Students will broaden their understanding of energy as well as the cost of producing and consuming energy, particularly the cost to the environment.

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Activity: Embodied Energy

All products we use carry a hidden, or embodied, energy cost. This cost is derived from all the factors that go into the production, delivery, use, and disposal of the product.

(60 min, inside) Download PDF

Activity: Lowering Environmental Impact

Well thought out design features can reduce the use of energy in a community.

(90 min, outside, field trip) Download PDF

Activity: The Greenhouse Effect

The sun warms air that is enclosed in a container.

(60 min, outside/inside if necessary) Download PDF

Module 5: Our Energy Future

Students will consider many important aspects of energy: its sources, production, storage, consumption, and implications for a more sustainable energy future.

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Activity: Energy Labels

Some appliances are more energy efficient than others. The true cost of an appliance is its price plus its yearly operating cost.

(30 min, inside) Download PDF

Activity: Sustainability Audit

Homes, offices, schools, and other buildings can be made more sustainable by ensuring that the people within them use a few resources and as little energy as possible.

(45 min, inside) Download PDF

Activity: Build a Composting System

Composting is a way of recycling nutrients from garbage. Composting saves energy by reducing transportation costs from homes to landfills and from gardening stores to homes.

(Several 45 min sessions, outside) Download PDF

Activity: Energy from Garbage – Model a Biogas Collector

Biogas generated by decaying garbage can be used as a source of heat to cook or to generate electricity.

(60 min, inside/outside) Download PDF

Activity: Solar Lamp

A Moser Lamp is a solar-powered lamp that uses the principle of refraction to light up houses in third-world countries.

(90 min, inside/outside) Download PDF

Activity: Energy Comparisons

Energy is used for a wide variety of tasks. There are a variety of resources used to generate electricity.

(30 min, internet) Download PDF

Activity: Future Power

Energy sources such as gas, coal, and biomass can be used to generate electricity. There are pros and cons to each.

(30 min, internet) Download PDF

Activity: How Many Earths Would We Need?

Most people living in the United States consume much more than the Earth can actually sustain over the long term. There are a variety of ways to reduce your consumption and build a more “sustainable” lifestyle.

(30 min, internet) Download PDF

Activity: Solar Water Heater

Energy from the sun can be used to heat water for household uses.

(60-90 min, outside) Download PDF
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Spread The Word

The best part of learning is connecting with others to share activities and experiences. Whether you’re building circuits or building relationships, let the world know about your great work!

.
  Download Toolkit PDF

Certificate of Completion

Congratulations! Celebrate your club’s achievement and let your kids brag about their STEM expertise.

.
  Download Certificate PDF

Explore the engineering principles and design challenges that surround us in everyday life, and help plan for a better tomorrow. The learning activities and digital resources contained within this online curriculum allow students to explore the concept of urban infrastructure.

Introduction

This introduction will provide you with the tips and tools you’ll need to make your STEM Club a success. See how you can leverage hands-on activities, reading passages, video segments, interactive simulations, and group discussions to engage and excite your afterschool groups.

Download PDF

Module 1: Transportation

Students will explore important characteristics of the urban transportation infrastructure. Some of the categories addressed include roads, bridges, tunnels, railways, light rail, pedestrian walkways and bike paths.

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Activity: Mapping the Neighborhood

The transportation infrastructure of a neighborhood is spatially based and can best be understood by walking the area and carefully observing and documenting features of interest.

(45 min, outside, two sessions) Download PDF

Activity: Public Transportation

Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams and trains, rapid transit and ferries. Each mode has unique features that can be experienced with a ride.

(45 min, outside, two sessions) Download PDF

Activity: Freight

One of the major goals of the transportation infrastructure is moving freight from point A to point B. This infrastructure involves a variety of modes of transport, some of which are more efficient than others.

(50 min, inside) Download PDF

Activity: Designing a City

A city is based on a set of complementary systems or infrastructures that are essential for the effective operation of the city.

(several sessions, inside) Download PDF

Module 2: Waste and Water

In this module, students explore the system of pipes, drains, taps, and valves that carry clean fresh water to homes and businesses in a city, and carry dirty waste water (sewage) out of the city.

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Activity: Evaluating Runoff in Your Neighborhood

The surfaces in an area affect the path and quantity of runoff and the amount of pollution transported by that runoff.

(60 min, inside/outside) Download PDF

Activity: Build a Composting System – Recycling Food Waste

Composting is a way of reducing solid waste and recycling nutrients from garbage, and saves energy by reducing transportation costs from homes to landfills and incinerators.

(45 min, outside, several sessions) Download PDF

Activity: Is Your Water Hard or Soft?

"Hard water" is water with minerals dissolved in it. Hard water can affect residential plumbing and citywide water and sewer systems.

(30 min, inside/outside) Download PDF

Activity: Building a Siphon

A siphon is a simple hydraulic system that moves liquid upward from a higher container through a tube to a lower container by the force of gravity. This movement requires atmospheric pressure to push the liquid into the tube.

(60 min, inside) Download PDF

Activity: Mapping the Interior Plumbing in a Building

A building's internal plumbing must accommodate the uses of the different parts of the building while keeping drinking water separate from wastewater.

(60 min, inside) Download PDF

Activity: Energy from Garbage – Model a Biogas Collector

Biogas generated by decaying garbage can be used as a source of heat to cook or to generate electricity. Using garbage to generate energy also saves on transportation costs and landfill space.

(60 min, inside/outside) Download PDF

Activity: Sources of Tap Water

Drinking water can come from a variety of sources, including lakes, aquifer, reservoirs (groundwater), and desalination plants. The water must then move through the water system to get to the tap.

(30 min, internet) Download PDF

Activity: Modeling an Aquifer

An aquifer is a body of permeable rock that can hold groundwater or allow it to pass through. Some cities rely on aquifers for drinking water.

(75 min, inside/outside) Download PDF

Activity: Getting Rid of Grease

Cooking grease is a major source of clogs in residential and city plumbing systems. Grease should be recycled or should be disposed of in the trash.

(60 min, inside/outside) Download PDF

Module 3: Energy

Students will explore some of the important characteristics of the energy infrastructure that powers our urban life.

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Activity: The Smart Grid

The smart grid makes use of computer-based technology to better coordinate the supply and demand of electricity.

(two 45 min sessions, Internet) Download PDF

Activity: Neighborhood Energy Infrastructure Survey

Some aspects of the urban energy infrastructure can be seen by walking around the local neighborhood.

(field trip, 60 min or time available, outside) Download PDF

Activity: The Mechanical Transmission of Energy

Energy can be transmitted over a distance by pulling on a rope or string attached to a mechanical system at the opposite end.

(60 min, inside/outside) Download PDF

Module 4: Communication

In this module, students examine some of the many ways people communicate: radio, newspapers, telegraph, telephone, fiber optics, and more.

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Activity: Modeling a Cellular Network

A cellular network is composed of a matrix of small grids, each of which communicates with a cell phone using radio signals.

(50 min, outside) Download PDF

Activity: Neighborhood Energy Infrastructure Survey

Some aspects of the urban communications infrastructure can be seen by walking around the local neighborhood.

(60 minutes, field trip) Download PDF

Activity: Telephone Tube

When sound is confined to travel through a narrow tube, it does not decrease in volume very much.

(informal time as available, inside/outside) Download PDF

Activity: Transmitting Radio Waves

Radio waves, or electromagnetic radiation, can be produced with a spark and can be detected with a simple AM radio.

(60 min, inside) Download PDF

Activity: Communicating with Flashlights

Signals can be sent over distances using light and a code.

(60 min, inside/outside) Download PDF

Module 5: Sustainability

In this module, students examine the importance of the environmental sustainability of systems and activities related to urban infrastructure: transportation systems, water and sewer systems and water use, energy systems and energy use, and communications systems and use.

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Activity: Planning a Sustainable Community

Retrofitting buildings and communities to improve sustainability can be expensive. Designing communities with sustainability in mind can save money in the long term.

(90 min, inside) Download PDF

Activity: Walkability Assessment

A walkable community is one in which residents can easily walk or take public transportation to perform daily activities

(60 min, inside/outside/Internet) Download PDF

Activity: Solar Water Heater

Energy from the sun can be used to heat water for household uses.

(60 - 90 min, outside) Download PDF

Activity: Solar Lamp

A Moser Lamp is a solar-powered lamp that uses the principle of refraction to light up houses in third-world countries.

(60 min, inside/outside) Download PDF

Activity: Evaluating Runoff in Your Neighborhood

The surfaces in an area affect the path and quantity of runoff and the amount of pollution transported by that runoff.

(60 min, inside/outside) Download PDF

Activity: Local Natural Hazards

Most areas are at risk for at least some types of natural disasters. It is important to consider natural hazards when designing and maintaining urban infrastructure.

(60 min, inside/outside) Download PDF

Activity: Model a Biogas Collector

Biogas generated by decaying garbage can be used as a source of heat to cook or to generate electricity. Using garbage to generate energy also saves on transportation costs and landfill space.

(60 min, inside/outside) Download PDF

Activity: Build a Composting System – Recycling Food Waste

Composting is a way of reducing solid waste and recycling nutrients from garbage.

(several 45-min sessions, outside) Download PDF

Activity: Sustainability Audit

Urban, suburban, and rural communities, including homes, offices, schools, and other buildings can be made more sustainable by ensuring that the people within them use a few resources and as little energy as possible.

(45 min, inside) Download PDF

Activity: Getting Rid of Grease

Cooking grease is a major source of clogs in residential and city plumbing systems. Grease should be recycled or should be disposed of in the trash.

(60 min, inside/outside) Download PDF
children-science.jpg

Spread The Word

The best part of learning is connecting with others to share activities and experiences. Whether you're building circuits or building relationships, let the world know about your great work!

.
  Download Toolkit PDF

Certificate of Completion

Congratulations! Celebrate your club's achievement and let your kids brag about their STEM expertise.

.
  Download Certificate PDF

Explore the importance of water to people and other organisms, some of the unique properties of water, how water shapes the Earth, how water can be used to make our lives safer and easier, and how people use and manage water.

Introduction

This introduction will provide you with the tips and tools you’ll need to make your STEM Club a success. See how you can leverage hands-on activities, reading passages, video segments, interactive simulations, and group discussions to engage and excite your afterschool groups.

Download PDF

Module 1: H2O and You

Students explore the importance of water in their daily lives: where their tap water comes from, how people can access fresh drinking water from salt water and from plants, and the importance of fresh water to their health.

Download PDF

Activity: You Are What You Drink

The human body is approximately 60% water by weight. Humans and other living things need water to live and grow.

(60 minutes, inside, hands-­on) Download PDF

Activity: Water Content of Foods

Fruits and vegetables and other foods contain a significant amount of water. Some animals get most of their water from the foods they eat. Food slices exposed to air will lose weight over time due to the evaporation of water.

(60 minutes for Session A, Additional sessions: 20-­30 minutes each day for approximately 8 days, inside, hands-­on, multi-­day) Download PDF

Activity: How Sweet It Is

Nutritionists are concerned about the high sugar content of many popular soft drinks, juices, and sports drinks. Do you know how much sugar you are drinking?

(60 minutes, inside, hands-on) Download PDF

Activity: Making Drinking Water

People can make fresh, clean water from salt water.

(30 minutes to set up, outside, hands-on, multi-day) Download PDF

Activity: Water From Plants

Plants transpire water into the air.

(Session A: 30 minutes, Session B: 15 minutes, outside, multi-­day, hands-on) Download PDF

Activity: Modeling an Aquifer

An aquifer is a body of permeable rock that can hold groundwater or allow it to pass through.

(75 minutes, inside or outside, hands-­on) Download PDF

Activity: How Much Water Do We Use

Humans use water for a variety of daily activities. Water use over the course of a day can add up to significant amounts both individually and collectively. Examining the use of water can lead to finding ways to conserve it.

(60 minutes, inside, Internet) Download PDF

Activity: Sources of Tap Water

Drinking water can come from a variety of sources, including lakes, aquifer, reservoirs, (groundwater), and desalination plants.

(30 minutes, inside, Internet) Download PDF

Module 2: Properties of Water

Students will investigate a number of properties of water through a variety of inquiry methods – indoor, outdoor, and technology based.

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Activity: Modeling Water Molecules

Water is made of tiny pieces called molecules, which are made of hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

(30 minutes, inside, hands-­on) Download PDF

Activity: From Gas to Liquid

Invisible water vapor exists in the air and can condense into a liquid when it cools or has something to stick to.

(60 minutes, inside or outside, hands-­on) Download PDF

Activity: Changing the Freezing Temperature of Water

Mixing salt with water can change the temperature that ice will melt.

(Session A: 40 minutes; Session B: 40 minutes, inside, hands-on) Download PDF

Activity: Ice vs. Water

Explore the density of ice and water.

(15 minutes, inside, hands-­on) Download PDF

Activity: Hot Water vs Cold

Explore the density of hot and cold water.

(20 minutes, inside, hands-­on) Download PDF

Activity: Fresh Water vs. Salt Water

Saltwater is denser than fresh water. As a result, fresh water can float on salt water.

(30 minutes, inside, hands-­on) Download PDF

Activity: Freezing Force

Water expands when it turns into ice. When water in cracks in rocks freezes, it can break apart the rocks.

(Session A: 15 minutes; Session B: 15 minutes, Session C: 15 minutes, inside, hands-­on, multi-­day) Download PDF

Activity: Is Your Water Hard or Soft

“Hard water” is water with minerals dissolved in it. Soap does not lather up as easily in hard water as it does in soft water.

(30 minutes, inside, hands-­on) Download PDF

Activity: Making Stalactites

Substances that are dissolved in water can come out of the water, or precipitate.

(Session A: 30 minutes; Session B: 15 minutes; inside, hands-­on, multi-­day) Download PDF

Activity: Surface Tension of Water

Surface tension is the property of the surface of a liquid that allows it to resist an external force, due to the cohesive nature of the water molecules.

(65 minutes, inside, hands-­on) Download PDF

Activity: Static Power

An object with a static charge can exert a force on a stream of water.

(30 minutes, inside, hands-­on) Download PDF

Activity: Measuring with Water

The volume of an object can be found by submersing it in water and measuring how much water has been displaced.

(75 minutes, inside, hands-­on) Download PDF

Activity: Create Your Own Slip and Slide

Show how water affects friction by creating your own Slip and Slide!

(60 minutes, outside) Download PDF

Activity: From Liquid to Gas

Water can evaporate, or turn from liquid to gas in the air. The rate that water evaporates depends on the temperature of the water and how much area is exposed to the air.

(45 minutes, outside or inside, hands-on) Download PDF

Activity: US Navy Sea Trails

The design of a ship affects its speed, maneuverability, and stability.

(25 minutes, inside, Internet) Download PDF

Activity: Water Properties What Do You Know?

Water has some very unusual properties.

(40 minutes, inside, Internet) Download PDF

Module 3: Water and Ecosystems

Students will engage in a range of indoor and outdoor activities in order to develop a better understanding of the important role of water in natural ecosystems found throughout Earth.

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Activity: It’s All Downstream

Students will create a model of a watershed that includes Chesapeake Bay. They will then simulate the introduction of pollutants somewhere in the watershed and observe how pollutants can travel downstream and affect many different water resources.

(40 minutes) Download PDF

Activity: Water Pollution

Water, including pollutants, flows downhill in a watershed.

(75 minutes, inside or outside, hands on) Download PDF

Activity: Soil Moisture

Soil contains water. The amount of water in a soil depends on many factors, including the type of soil, where the soil is found, and how recently it has rained.

(40 minutes + time to dry soil + 30 minutes, outside, hands-on, multi-­day) Download PDF

Activity: Soil Permeability

Water soaks into different types of soils at different rates.

(60 minutes, outside, hands-on) Download PDF

Activity: The Water Cycle

Water is found in the oceans, on land, in the air, in clouds, underground, and in living things. Water is continuously changing form and moving from place to place.

(60 minutes, inside, Internet) Download PDF

Activity: Waters of the Earth

Most of the water on Earth is salty and is found in oceans. Freshwater can be found in rivers, lakes, glaciers, ice sheets, underground, in clouds, in the air, and in living things.

(75 minutes, inside, Internet, hands-­on) Download PDF

Activity: What Are Watersheds?

A watershed is an area of land that collects water from rain or snow.

(30 minutes, outside and inside, Internet) Download PDF

Activity: A Model Ecosystem

An ecosystem is a complex biological system of interacting organisms and their physical environment. A functioning model makes such a system accessible to students in a classroom.

(60 minutes, inside, hands-on, multi-­day) Download PDF

Module 4: Making Water Work for Us

Students explore the many ways humans have put the power of moving water to work for their benefit.

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Activity: Modeling a Water Turbine

Students will design investigations, gather data, and explore engineering and technology.

(45 minutes, inside, hands-on) Download PDF

Activity: Waterwheel

Students will construct a model waterwheel to harness the energy in hydropower and transform it to mechanical energy. They will make some observations about the speed of their waterwheel, gather and record data, then interpret the data.

(60 minutes, inside, hands-on) Download PDF

Activity: Building a Hydraulic Lift

Water can be used to lift heavy loads.

(45 minutes, inside, hands-­on) Download PDF

Activity: Building a Siphon

A siphon is a simple hydraulic system that moves liquid upward from a higher container through a tube to a lower container by the force of gravity. This movement requires atmospheric pressure to push the liquid into the tube.

(60 minutes, inside, hands-on) Download PDF

Activity: Hydropower

Moving water has kinetic energy. This energy can be used to do work and move things.

(75 minutes, inside or outside, hands-on) Download PDF

Activity: Boat Building Design Challenge

Students will design, build, and test a model boat from a set of simple materials.

(75 minutes, outside, hands-on) Download PDF

Module 5: Managing Water

Students investigate the various ways humans rely on and make use of natural water resources. Through individual and group activities, students will develop an understanding of the value of clean and reliable water resources - from groundwater, to water storage and delivery, to consumption and disposal of wastewater.

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Activity: Designing a Rain Garden

Rain gardens are landscaping features designed to handle storm water runoff. Water runoff can come from parking lots, driveways, compacted lawn areas, and other impermeable areas. A rain garden is designed to capture runoff and allow it to infiltrate into the ground locally.

(4-6 sessions that occur over days: 60 minutes each, inside and outside, hands-on) Download PDF

Activity: Making Drinking Water

People can make fresh, clean water from salt water.

(30 minutes to set up, outside, hands-­on, multi-­day) Download PDF

Activity: Storm Drain Stenciling

Most public roadways have storm drains that channel rainwater off the street and into the storm sewer system. Storm drain pipes generally lead directly into a waterway or body of water.

(3 Sessions: 60 minutes each, inside and outside, hands-on) Download PDF

Activity: How Much Water Do We Use?

Humans use water for a variety of daily activities. Water use over the course of a day can add up to significant amounts both individually and collectively. Examining the use of water can lead to finding ways to conserve it.

(60 minutes, inside, Internet) Download PDF

Activity: Low-Flow Shower Heads

One simple and effective way to reduce water consumption in the home is to install low-flow shower heads. A standard shower head uses about 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Low-flow shower heads are designed to use less that 2 gallons per minute.

(60 minutes, inside, hands-­on) Download PDF
children-science.jpg

Spread The Word

The best part of learning is connecting with others to share activities and experiences. Whether you’re building circuits or building relationships, let the world know about your great work!

.
  Download Toolkit PDF

Certificate of Completion

Congratulations! Celebrate your club’s achievement and let your kids brag about their STEM expertise.

.
  Download Certificate PDF

Professional development is a key component of the Pepco Holdings STEM Club initiative. Each year, Pepco Holdings and Discovery Education welcome Boys & Girls Clubs facilitators from Atlantic City, Delaware, and the Greater Washington, D.C. area to a day-long training event to provide critical techniques for use throughout the year.

If you were unable to attend, view the archived program below!

Pepco Holdings STEM Club Summit 2016: Part 1

Explore important characteristics of the urban transportation infrastructure including roads, bridges, tunnels, railways, light rail, pedestrian walkways and bike paths.

Watch Clip

Pepco Holdings STEM Club Summit 2016: Part 2

In this module, we will explore the system of pipes, drains, taps, and valves that carry clean fresh water to homes and businesses in a city, and carry dirty waste water (sewage) out of the city.

Watch Clip

Pepco Holdings STEM Club Summit 2016: Part 3

Explore some of the important characteristics of the energy infrastructure that powers our urban life.

Watch Clip

Pepco Holdings STEM Club Summit 2016: Part 4

Closing and sharing success stories.

Watch Clip

Pepco Holdings STEM Club Summit 2015: Part 1

Welcome & Introduction; Success Stories from 2014-15

Watch Clip

Pepco Holdings STEM Club Summit 2015: Part 2

Jumping into the “Water” curriculum’s engineering challenges; Hands-On, Minds-On: STEM Club Water Activities

Watch Clip

Pepco Holdings STEM Club Summit 2015: Part 3

“Water” curriculum deep dive; PHI STEM Club real world connections

Watch Clip
children-science.jpg

Spread The Word

The best part of learning is connecting with others to share activities and experiences. Whether you’re building circuits or building relationships, let the world know about your great work!

.
  Download Toolkit PDF

Certificate of Completion

Congratulations! Celebrate your club’s achievement and let your kids brag about their STEM expertise.

.
  Download Certificate PDF