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Energy in our Lives: Preparing middle school students for our energy future

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Energy in our Lives: Preparing middle school students for our energy future

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  1. Clarkson Project-Based Learning Partnerships K-12 SLU Sponsored by: National Science Foundation GE Foundation Energy in our Lives:Preparing middle school students for our energy future Susan E. Powers, PhD, PE Sarah Scafidi McGuire Clarkson University ASEE Teachers Workshop June 17, 2006

  2. Agenda • Background • What is important to teach about energy? • Overview, Clarkson’s outreach program • Project-Based Learning • Middle School Energy Curriculum • Introduction • Example Activities

  3. How much do we know? In the past ten years, has the average miles per gallon of gasoline used by vehicles in the U.S. … • increased • remained the same • gone down, or • has not been tracked?

  4. We don’t know much • In 2001 - 17% of 1500 American adults chose correct answer regarding gasoline mileage (National Environmental Education and Training Foundation ) • Only 12% considered to have a passing knowledge about energy • But are we asking the right questions? • None about relationship between fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions • None about depletion of natural resources

  5. Key issues in our current energy “crisis” • World demand for energy is growing • Supplies of fossil fuels are finite • Point at which rate of supply decreases imminent • Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are increasing above and levels seen in history • Climate is affected – polar ice caps and glaciers

  6. World Total Primary Energy Supply (million tons - oil equivalents) 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 Coal Oil Gas Nuclear Hydro Combustible renewables and wastes

  7. Hubbert’s Peak Oil Model Contiguous USA, 1900 - 2004 10 5 0 Hubbert’s prediction Actual production Million Barrels per day Price per Barrel 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000

  8. Demand Deficit Consequences when pass the “peak” • Demand exceeds supply • Prices for energy and all other goods and services • Conflict Production rate Supply Year ~ now-30 yrs, oil ~20-50 yr, NG

  9. Our students will be affected by energy in their lives

  10. Clarkson University Project-Based Learning Partnership Program • Funded by GK-12 Program, NSF • Trained graduate and undergraduate STEM majors work in partnership with teachers • Bring relevant problem solving units to students • engage and excite them about STEM disciplines • increase science content knowledge and literacy

  11. Vision Students will learn more and become more interested in math, science and engineering if they: • understand the relevance of what they are learning • are actively involved with the learning process • understand that these subjects will help them solve problems that are import to their community • work with MST mentors from local Universities

  12. Program Overview • GK-12 program, • 6 years • 11 school districts in rural Northern NY • 3-week summer training • 16-19 Graduate and Advanced Undergraduate MSE teaching fellows • Work in partnership with local MST teacher • Prepare standards-based, project-oriented curricular materials – environmental engineering topics • Teach 2-3 x/week at local middle/high school

  13. Engages students as stakeholders in learning Enables student learning in relevant and connected ways Challenges students to learn at deeper levels More authentically employs the thinking skills and methods required for MST careers Why “Project-Based” ? Torp and Sage, Problems as Possibilities, 2002

  14. Bloom’s Taxonomy Application Analysis Synthesis Evaluation Knowledge Comprehension Ways to think about “literacy” Capacity Ways of thinking Knowledge Technically Speaking, Nat’l Academy of Engineers, 2002

  15. Teacher – Expert, deliverer of information Students – Inactive, receive knowledge, apply on test Problem-Centered Learning Moderately structured problem Teacher – translates problem to student’s world, explicitly teaches related content Students – Active, evaluates resources, defines solutions Teacher – Coaches students through ill-posed problem Students – Active, investigates and solves the problem Teaching / Learning Strategies Lecture Problem-Based Learning Torp and Sage, Problems as Possibilities, 2002

  16. Example Problem Problem: Select an energy solution to reduce home power used from the grid

  17. Energy in our lives Energy sources Energy systems Design and Communication A systems-based approach

  18. Problem Solving Approach Design system to reduce home’s grid energy consumption by 50% Present results Discuss/debate options Tradeoffs/decisions Design, build test Physical models What is energy? Energy consumption Energy sources/ conversion Energy conservation, Alternative energy systems

  19. Topics Addressed The Energy Problem Problem Solving Energy Basics Renewable vs. Nonrenewable Energy Conservation Energy Forms, States, and Conversions Energy Sources and Systems Energy Efficiency Curriculum includes: Units Lesson Plans Activities Assessment Arranged for Science Technology Integrated ST Energy Curriculum

  20. Major Concepts • Laws of thermodynamics… • Energy needs to be converted to be useful • The environment will be impacted … • Design must take into account the efficiencies of the process as well as impacts. • Slowing use of nonrenewable forms of energy… • Systems are designed from interrelated parts … • Energy systems have evolved… • The choice among energy systems requires trade offs… • A problem solving method ... • There are several steps in a design process …

  21. Does it Work?

  22. Understanding our current Energy Situation “The fact that [the fellows] were actually studying this stuff in the field was good. It’s a different experience than just reading from a textbook.” “This project really opened my eyes to our energy problems.” “I feel like I now have a basic understanding of the issues… and would be able to make an intelligent, informed vote….” “We weren’t just reading facts anymore, but instead putting what we learned to use… not only did I just learn more, but it also changed my opinions a bit and made me aware of the damage we are doing to our environment.”

  23. Passion in the classroom…

  24. For more information… • Susan Powers • • 315-268-6542 • Office of Educational Partnerships • • 315-268-3791

  25. Examples Covered Today • The Energy Problem • Energy Choices game • Forms, States and Conversions • Household items • Energy Conservation • Light bulbs • Energy Efficiency • Lego Energy Efficiency

  26. Lesson Plan: The Energy Problem • Concepts • Energy is a critical resource that is used in all aspects of our daily lives. • Currently, society depends upon nonrenewable energy resources, mainly fossil fuels. • The world’s supply of nonrenewable resources is limited and their use can negatively affect our environment and economy. • Our personal choices will affect the future of the world’s energy. • Making smart energy decisions today will prove beneficial later.

  27. Lesson Plan: The Energy Problem • Key Questions • How do our individual energy choices affect the global energy problem? • How would your life be different if the amount of energy available for use is drastically reduced? • Is our supply of energy infinite or finite? • What are some choices you can make that help alleviate the energy problem?

  28. Pay gasoline and home • energy bills • Choices made along way, e.g., • Add insulation • Buy air conditioner • Trade in car “Energy Choices” Patterned after game “Life” House and car defined

  29. Lesson Plan: Forms, States, and Conversions • Concepts • Energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but converted from one form to another. This can be represented as the first law of thermodynamics. • Energy can be classified by its form or state. • Energy is stored in a variety of ways and must be released to do useful work • The five forms of energy are: … • The two states of energy are … • Energy can be converted to useful forms by various means. • Energy and its conversion between forms can be expressed quantitatively. • When converting energy, a significant fraction of that energy can be lost from the system

  30. Lesson Plan: Forms, States, and Conversions • Key Questions • Can energy be transformed/converted from one form to another? • What types of conversion processes can be used to convert energy into a more usable form? • What forms of energy losses can occur during an energy conversion? • How is heat related to combustion? • How can energy conversions be modeled with block diagrams?

  31. Lesson Plan: Energy Conservation • Concepts • Energy conservation can be defined as the protection, preservation, management, or restoration of our energy resources. • Conservation is one of the ways we can reduce energy use, thus reducing … the negative effects felt from the burning of these fuels. • Conservation methods include modifications to our daily behaviors and choosing energy conscious products.

  32. Lesson Plan: Energy Conservation • Key Questions • What appliances use the most energy in the average home? • What are some ways you can conserve energy in your home? • What are some examples of energy conscious products?

  33. Light bulb efficiency

  34. Lesson Plan: Energy Efficiency • Concepts • The efficiency of a system is defined as the ratio of the output energy (or power) to the input energy (or power). These can be measured and calculated. • The second law of thermodynamics can describe the energy that cannot be captured and used by humans. • The efficiency of a system will decrease as the number of energy conversions increases. • A goal of technology is to increase efficiency both directly and indirectly.

  35. Lesson Plan: Energy Efficiency • Key Questions • What is the value in finding a use for energy by-products and where might you find uses for them? • If each energy conversion decreases the efficiency, why do we convert the energy several times before we use it? • What are the main causes of inefficiency? • How can we improve a system’s efficiency?