The ICE-T (Integrating Computational & Experimental Technologies) project will teach students the computer coding language and experimental techniques required to examine the physiology, biochemistry and voltage potential of microbial fuel cells (MFC) made from river sediment. There are two phases to the ICE-T project. Phase one will concentrate on teaching the Python coding language and how to build a small computer called a Raspberry Pi. The second phase of the project will concentrate on the science behind the MFC and how to construct it. Using biosensors, a Raspberry Pi and the programming skills learned in phase 1, students will collect and analyze data from the MFC and then formulate a hypothesis on how to increase the voltage output of the MFC. This innovative project bridges the disciplines of renewable energy research, biological analysis, and computer science into one.

We are no longer accepting applications for the ICE-T program.


This program is made possible by bny_mellon_logoFoundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania

Schedule of Sessions

Phase 1

Module # Module Title Date Time Short Description
1 Assembling the Raspberry Pi Thursday, February 2, 2017 4:00pm-6:00pm The students and teachers will be introduced to the different features on the Raspberry Pi as well as connecting it to a power supply, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Turning on the Raspberry Pi
2 Learning the Raspberry Pi OS Thursday, February 9, 2017 4:00pm-6:00pm A brief introduction to the Raspberry Pi OS will be given
3 Introduction to Python Thursday, February 16, 2017 4:00pm-6:00pm A brief introduction to the Python language and how to use it on the Raspberry Pi will be given. The students and teachers will write simple Python scripts, e.g. adding numbers, printing “hello world…”.
4 Python Programming I Thursday, February 23, 2017 4:00pm-6:00pm Basic Python syntax will be covered.  The students and teachers will write several short Python “programs”, e.g. read input from the console and print out a calculated result.
5 Python Programming II Thursday, March 2, 2017 4:00pm-6:00pm More advanced features of the Python language will be presented, e.g. arrays, loops, conditionals, and functions.
6 Python Graphics Thursday, March 9, 2017 4:00pm-6:00pm This module will illustrate the graphics capabilities of Python.  The students and teachers will produce several xy plots, histograms, and bar charts.
7 Python Numerical Methods Thursday, March 16, 2017 4:00pm-6:00pm Very basic numerical methods will be presented.  For example the students and teachers will be shown how to use the linear regression capabilities of Python.  They will also produce a graph that contains discrete data points forming a straight line and place a linear line over the data and report the slope and intercept for the data.
8 Raspberry Pi and Arduino Thursday, March 23, 2017 4:00pm-6:00pm The use of the Raspberry Pi connected to Arduino sensors will be discussed as well as how to collect data from the sensors.

Phase 2

Module # Module Title Date Time Short Description
9 Assembling the Microbial Fuel cell Thursday, March 30, 2017 4:00pm-6:00pm The students and teachers will be introduced to the science behind MFC and the microorganisms that power them. They will then build their own fuel cell and test the voltage, resistance, pH and temperature of the MFC for baseline data.
10 Learning the Science of electricity Thursday, April 6, 2017 4:00pm-6:00pm The students and teachers will be introduced to circuits, transistors, and resistors. They learn about the flow of electricity and how they can impact the current and voltage of the MFC. Next they will create their own circuits using copper tape and LEDs.
11 MFC Experimentation Thursday, April 20, 2017 4:00pm-6:00pm The students and teachers will test a number of variables on the MFC and use the Raspberry Pi/biosensors to collect and plot their data. They will analyze the data and determine which set of variables produces the voltage and current needed to power an LED and produce a MFC powered night-light that they can take home.
12 Communication of Findings Thursday, April 27, 2017 4:00pm-6:00pm Students will analyze, graph and present their data in poster presentations in competitions such as the PA Junior Academy of Science (PJAS). Here they will develop the communication skills necessary in sciences.
13 Refine and Redesign Thursday, May 4, 2017 4:00pm-6:00pm Students will take their project, findings and critiques from competition judges and improve their project.