16 Apr

PEN continued testing our solar lamp curriculum by teaching this lesson series every Saturday for two months to a group of local high schools through the HSSP program: http://esp.mit.edu/learn/HSSP/index.html

It was a fun group of students to work with. Some highlights include: one kid mentioning lasers in every single class, hearing them come up with new uses for their devices (without prompting), certain kids developing a love (or borderline obsession) with soldering, hearing them accurately teach each other how solar cells work, seeing them get excited about various research ideas going on at MIT (transparent solar cells, paper solar cells, etc). They’re a bright bunch of kids!

Props to Maddie for being such a dedicated teacher, and Ned for his excellent circuit knowledge. I had a great time helping out along the way.

Here are a bunch of pictures:


teaching about batteries


circuit + solar cell + batteries!


battery holder



Enterprise Africa Conference

9 Apr

PEN was selected as one of the six finalists in the Enterprise Africa Conference’s Business Plan Competition!!! We’re very excited about this opportunity.


If you’re in the area, please come by this Saturday April 14 to hear us pitch to the panel of judges.

PENed Reorganization

29 Dec

Ned, again, to drop a quick note that we’ve reorganized pen-ed.com to fit the new style of lessons, and are in the process of putting up our developed lessons. If you’re reading this, we’d love to get your feedback on the site; there’s a new page for “features requests” where you can let us know what it’s missing. (If you have trouble finding that page, leave a comment on this post.)

Solar Lamp Booklet

29 Dec

The business of term ended, not knowing what else to do, I learned some InDesign and turned some of the excellent and tested solar lessons that everyone’s been working on this term into a small booklet for teachers. This is the web version, if you’re looking for a quick preview.

The original audience for the booklet was a group in the D-Lab I class who were looking to make solar lamps, so the background and lessons contained jump right into the optical design of lamps, and the design of a solar charging circuit.

(if you’d like to print one, here’s the print version: when printed with short-edge flip, it should come out ready to be folded into a 16-page booklet)

Boston College Splash Class

21 Dec

PEN tested a couple of our solar lessons at the Boston College Splash Event in November. 

Here are some pictures!


Testing the cells in the sun


Soldering the cells together

The students worked really well in pairs!






A finished panel!


All smiles with the finished product 🙂


PEN awarded another grant!

14 Dec

PEN was just informed that our solar curriculum has been awarded first prize in the IBM/IEEE Smarter Planet Competition!!!


In the news!

3 Nov

Check out a short blurb about us on BostInnovation.com

MIT Energy Night 2011