Asee peer logo

Emerging Technology Institute - Training Middle and High School Teachers in Alternative Energy

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Sustainable Energy Education

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.556.1 - 22.556.7



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Liping Guo Northern Illinois University

visit author page

Liping Guo received the B.E. degree in Automatic Control from Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China in 1997, the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Auburn University, AL, USA in 2001 and 2006 respectively. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Electrical Engineering Technology program in the Technology Department at the Northern Illinois University. Her research and teaching interests are mainly in the area of power electronics, renewable energy, embedded systems and automatic control. Dr. Guo is a senior member of the IEEE and a member of the ASEE.

visit author page


Mansour Tahernezhadi Northern Illinois University

visit author page

Mansour Tahernezhadi holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma with specialization in Digital Communications and Signal Processing. Currently, he holds the position of Associate Dean and Professor in the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois. In recent years, Dr. Tahernezhadi has been very active in funded project activities to advance engineering education for undergraduate engineering students and middle school and high school mathematics, science, and industrial technology teachers.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Emerging Technology Institute - Training Middle and High School Teachers in Alternative EnergyAbstract Making the nation’s energy system greener and smarter will benefit the environment, theeconomy, and the workforce. A shortage of skilled electric power professionals is expected in thenext five years. This deficit could be stemmed if talented middle school and high school studentsconsidered such careers. Middle and high school teachers can play a key role in encouragingstudents to pursue careers in green energy. To be effective advocates, teachers need training to 1)bring motivating green energy lessons to their own classrooms, 2) sustain student interest withinquiry-based problem solving experiences, and 3) assess the effectiveness of their efforts usingvalid research methods. The Emerging Technology Institute (ETI) is a collaborative project of Northern IllinoisUniversity, Rockford Public School District, West Aurora Unit School District, Rich TownshipHigh School District, and Harlem Consolidated School District supported by the Illinois StateBoard of Education. The main focus of the project is to provide middle school and high schoolscience, math and technology teachers with hands-on interdisciplinary experience with faculty instate-of-the-art laboratories of alternative energy, nanotechnology, fuel cell, and modernmanufacturing. The goal of the institute is to improve teachers’ content knowledge and teachingpractices in ways that increase the academic performance of their students and in ways that buildcapacity within their schools for continued, sustained student learning. This paper describes the alternative energy section in the ETI project. Fundamentalconcepts of electricity and alternative energy systems were taught. Topics include energy review,introduction to electricity, electrical circuits, solar energy, study of characteristics of photovoltaiccells and wind turbines, data acquisition system to obtain data of voltage, current and power,electric power distribution and smart grid. Next, participants are formed into group of two todesign and build a solar powered flashing light. Through the group design project, participantsdemonstrate understanding of relevant electric safety issues and increase their ability to designand implement alternative energy systems. Towards the end of the workshop, each participantwas given a topic to research on and they made an oral presentation to the class. The objective of the project is an increase in the number of teachers with alternativeenergy knowledge and skills. Additional outcomes are: each participant will demonstrateunderstanding of the relevant electric safety when working with solar and wind power system;demonstrate understanding of basic concepts of electric voltage, current, resistance, power andenergy; competently research and discuss other experiments and lessons using web-based tools;have increased ability to design alternative energy systems; and write solar and wind technology-based lesson plans to use in his or her classroom. Problem-based, inquiry learning using authentic problems in alternative energytechnology is applied to increase content knowledge of alternative energy and increase interestand awareness of alternative energy. Participants will become community leaders promotingalternative energy technology. Each participant will write an inquiry-based lesson plan in solarand wind power technology. Inquiry-based learning incorporates interdisciplinary study, criticalthinking skills, and structured research considering the student as individual learning styles toproduce a student-centered instructional method. The lesson plans focus students’ inquiry onquestions that are challenging, debatable and difficult to solve, and structure lessons so thatstudents have opportunities to work with peers and apply concepts to new situations. Examplesof inquiry-based lesson plans will be included in the full paper.

Guo, L., & Tahernezhadi, M. (2011, June), Emerging Technology Institute - Training Middle and High School Teachers in Alternative Energy Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17837

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: © 2011 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