Upchurch gets $10,000 grant to research energy

Story by Djemila Stinson

Physics teacher Nathan Upchurch received a Toshiba America Foundation envelope in the mail containing a $10,000 grant supporting his students to study alternate energy.

“I was so overwhelmed and excited,” Upchurch said. “It is always exciting to know others like your ideas and are willing to support them with money.”

Funded by Toshiba America Foundation, the students plan to actively research, communicate and understand a problem that impacts every community member in order to propose possible solutions.

“In the project, ‘Factors Affecting Fuel Efficient Cars’, our high school students will investigate and find the most cost effective automobile,” Upchurch said. “We will do this by understanding the function of batteries, hydrogen-fuel cells, and vehicle designs.”

This project will involve research in the Physics of NASCAR, Inquiry Labs, and findings regarding car batteries. Students are currently proving that the change in kinetic energy and work are the same thing.

“I am really proud of my students for what they have done so far,” Upchurch said.“The findings will further public understanding about the energy crisis in transportation.”

Throughout the next few months, students will research their own student automobiles as well as additional automobiles from local car dealerships, compete against each other in robotic designs and challenges, visit the Texas Motor Speedway to learn more about the science of NASCAR, visit The Dallas Auto show and construct and test hydrogen fuel cell cars. Their research will culminate in the hosting of their own auto show which will consist of some of the latest designs in electric, hybrid and/or fuel efficient technologies from local dealerships.

“We are always looking to makes lessons more engaging and learn concepts at a much higher level of thinking,” Upchurch said. “This is exciting for all the students of Texas High.”