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Connecting Elementary School Students To Energy Concepts And New Technologies

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Elementary School Engineering Education

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.351.1 - 11.351.15



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Paper Authors


Tuba Bayraktar Hampton University

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Dr. Bayraktar is an Assistant Professor at Hampton University, School of Engineering and Technology. Her current research interests include microfluidics, University/K12 partnership, and design education. She is currently collaborating with Department of Architecture at HU to teach an interdisciplinary design course for Engineering, Architecture, and Business students.

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Keith Williamson East Carolina University

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Dr. Keith Williamson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Technology
Systems at East Carolina University. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering
from Tufts University. He is the Principal Investigator on the GK12 project and has
received numerous awards for teaching and research. Dr. Williamson’s current research
is focused on University/K12 partnerships and thermo-mechanical processing.

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Ilhan Bayraktar Old Dominion University

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Dr. Ilhan Bayraktar is a Research Scientist at Old Dominion University. He has a doctorate degree in Aerospace Engineering, and he works on wide range of engineering/education related projects.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Connecting Elementary School Students to Energy Concepts and New Technologies

Abstract The ever increasing energy usage and depleting nonrenewable energy resources are of great concern to all nations. The staggering cost of gasoline for today’s motorist underscores the tough challenges for industrialized and developing nations with a large appetite for nonrenewable energy resources. Engineers throughout the world have focused their efforts on developing environmentally friendly and energy efficient technological solutions. This paper discusses a program created to educate elementary school students on the benefits of these evolving technologies. The program results showed that connecting students to energy related issues at the early stages of their education is especially important if we want to promote the development of lifelong practices and habits for saving energy. Several concepts of energy and energy sources as well as problems related to the nonrenewable energy resources, and new technologies including fuel cells were introduced to students in a fourth grade classroom of a Hampton Public School. The project involved engineering students from Hampton University and Old Dominion University who partnered with the Hampton Public School that served as a role model to motivate elementary school students to careers in engineering.

1. Introduction The 2004 Annual Energy Review1 reveals that the majority of energy used in the US is obtained from fossil fuels. The continuous increase in energy consumption and diminishing fossil fuel reserves are alarming realities of our decade. Van Loon reports that the world uses more oil than discovered since 1998 and adds that it is a very low probability to discover new large oil and gas fields2. Environmental problems associated with the heavy use of fossil fuels are also alarming. The global temperature increase in the past century is about one degree Fahrenheit as a result of increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere3. All these phenomena indicate that the future generations will be faced much more serious problems with diminishing energy resources and environmental pollution. Connecting students to energy related issues at the early stages of their education is important in the development of lifelong practices and habits for saving energy. This paper presents an energy program developed to increase awareness of elementary school students on energy sources and the need for saving energy. Energy related lecture and demonstration sessions were integrated to the 4th grade science curriculum. Among various learning models, constructivism was chosen for teaching energy concepts since the active involvement of learners in knowledge construction is emphasized in this model4,5. The paper presents detailed information on the implementation of energy program to a 4th grade pilot class in a Hampton Public School. The energy program was implemented in conjunction to a Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) project, which included many other activities to promote mathematics and science education at 4th and 5th grade classrooms. Eight partner schools, which were integrated into the GK-12 project, are located in urban Empowerment Zones (EZs) of Southeastern Virginia. The energy program found its first implementation in one of the eight partner schools. The following section present insights on the GK-12 project entitled “Engineering Graduate Fellows and Master Teachers for Grades 4-5.”

Bayraktar, T., & Williamson, K., & Bayraktar, I. (2006, June), Connecting Elementary School Students To Energy Concepts And New Technologies Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--83

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015