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A Framework for K12 Bioenergy Engineering and Science Concepts: A Delphi Consensus Study

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Fundamental: Tools and Content for K-12 Engineering Education

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.45.1 - 26.45.10



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Paper Authors


Brian David Hartman Oregon State University

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Brian is a doctoral student in science education at Oregon State University. He has 4 years of experience teaching high school science and practiced engineering for 12 years. His research interests include k12 biological and chemical engineering curriculum development, nature of engineering, and creativity in engineering design.

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Kimi Grzyb Oregon State University


Katharine G. Field Oregon State University

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Dr. Kate Field has degrees from Yale University, Boston University, and University of Oregon. She is a professor at Oregon State University in the Department of Microbiology, where her research program concerns molecular detection of microbial contamination in water. She is the director of BioResource Research, an undergraduate, interdisciplinary, research-based biosciences major. Dr. Field is a co-PI on the Advanced Hardwoods Biofuels bioenergy project, for which she directs the development of bioenergy education programs.

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A Framework for K12 Bioenergy Engineering and Science Concepts: A Delphi Consensus StudyAbstractThis study developed an engineering framework for teaching bioenergy concepts in K12settings. Socio-scientific issues, such as energy production and use, provide a way tosituate student learning in real-to-life contexts. Students can engage with issues andchallenges of alternative energy sources as a way to become a part of a larger debate.The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) identify argument from evidence as afoundational practice of both engineering and science. Understanding alternate energysources is a way to engage students in productive argument from available evidence andto become a part of the larger societal debate. Beyond informing students in socio-scientific issues, bioenergy represents a unique opportunity for educators to integratedisciplines such as engineering, biology, chemistry, and physics that are treated as largelyindependent disciplines. Bioenergy provides a platform for application of thesedisciplinary concepts in ways that inform students about current issues they may need toact on in the future. In order to guide future bioenergy education research and practice acore set of essential K12 education concepts needs to be developed. To this end,educators and researchers (N=20) from the bioenergy community were recruited toparticipate on an expert panel that was charged with developing a consensus list of theessential bioenergy concepts for K12 students. A traditional three-round Delphimethodology was used to foster a consensus around core bioenergy concepts. In round 1of this mixed-method approach the experts were asked to list all the concepts theybelieved were essential to teaching bioenergy at the K12 level. The participant’sresponses were qualitatively coded for bioenergy concept themes. In round 2, expertswere asked to rate (1=non-essential to 5=essential) the list of concept themes on whetherthey were essential. Concepts with a rating below 4 were removed from the list as notbeing essential. In Round 3, participants again rated the shortened list on how importantthey were to K12 bioenergy education. The final list included concepts such as energyrequirements, conversion technologies, and lifecycle analysis. The resulting frameworkwill provide direction for future K12 science and engineering curriculum developmentefforts and will be a framework for future research in alternative energy education.

Hartman, B. D., & Grzyb, K., & Field, K. G. (2015, June), A Framework for K12 Bioenergy Engineering and Science Concepts: A Delphi Consensus Study Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23386

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