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Energy Inquiry: Hands-on, Inquiry Learning Methods to Enhance STEM Learning by Engaging Students in Renewable Energy Solutions (Research to Practice)

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Engineering Across the K-12 Curriculum: Integration with the Arts, Social Studies, Sciences, and the Common Core

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.481.1 - 24.481.16



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Paper Authors


Leslie Wilkins Maui Economic Development Board

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Leslie Wilkins has served as the Vice President of the Maui Economic Development Board since 1999. She was hired to design, launch and direct the Women in Technology Project with a mission to engage girls/women and underrepresented populations into the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) pipeline. In its 13th year, the program serves annually more than 14,000 students, educators and industry members throughout the state of Hawaii from elementary school to job placement.

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Lesley Eva Bristol Maui Economic Development Board

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Lesley Bristol is a Project Assistant at Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology Project. She supports Women in Technology’s many events and initiatives through research, content creation, strategic program planning, and logistics assistance. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Community & International Development and has implemented educational programs and conducted community-based research in the United States as well as internationally.

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Graham R. DeVey Maui Economic Development Board

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Graham DeVey is a Project Manager with the Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology Program. He directs the statewide program Island Energy Inquiry™, a place-based, inquiry learning curriculum for STEM teachers in grades 5-12. He holds a Master of Arts in Teaching degree (Physics) and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautical Science, with 18 years of experience in engineering management and 19 years as an educator, curriculum developer, and professional development specialist.

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Energy Inquiry: Hands-on, Inquiry Learning Methods to Enhance STEM Learning by Engaging Students in Renewable Energy Solutions (research to practice)In 2009 IEI was developed and implemented to address the critical issue of fossil fueldependence and need for renewable energy solutions in the state of______. IEI is a place-based,culturally aligned Professional Development (PD) program that educates K-12 students onrenewable energy resources and incorporates STEM-focused engineering design solutions.Originating on ______, IEI has expanded its reach to _______, educating a total of 266 teacherparticipants representing over 44,000 students.The foundation of IEI is its emphasis of the scientific inquiry method, encouraging students tocritically problem-solve, ask relevant questions about the subject matter they are learning, and tosuccessfully apply theoretical concepts to real-world challenges through hands-on learning. IEIalso provides gender equity training and focuses on the inclusion of underrepresented minoritiesto achieve the overarching goal of gender parity and increased diversity in the STEM field. Akey component of IEI is to build an education-workforce pipeline with the engineering andtechnical capacity to lead the next generation towards independence from fossil fuels anddevelop clean energy solutions unique to ______. Since IEI’s origination, local industryprofessionals from wind, solar, geothermal, ocean thermal energy conversion, biofuel, andenergy conservation have presented at IEI’s workshops, providing highly applicable evidence ofthe local renewable energy industry and exemplifying ______ as a premier clean energy test bed.Since IEI’s pilot workshops in 2009, the program is reaching expanded numbers of educators.From November 2012 to October 2013, 125 STEM teachers from nine IEI workshopsexperienced an 85% success rate in launching and sharing results from curriculum-based labsand activities. As demand increases in ______, the IEI educational model has attracted nationaland international interest. In May 2013, IEI was tasked to adapt the course for an overseas cadre.In addition to increased implementation rates and overall reach since 2009, IEI’s dynamism isevidenced by its integration of education standards. As a ______ Department of Education PDcourse, IEI has addressed the ______ Content and Performance Standards in science as part of itsimplementation process. More recently, IEI has adopted the Common Core State StandardsInitiative as well as the Next Generation Science Standards, based on the framework for K-12Science Education and developed by the National Research Council. The combination of place-based design, scientific inquiry methodology, and successful local implementation whileaddressing state and national standards has put IEI at the forefront of K-12 renewable energyscience and engineering education.

Wilkins, L., & Bristol, L. E., & DeVey, G. R. (2014, June), Energy Inquiry: Hands-on, Inquiry Learning Methods to Enhance STEM Learning by Engaging Students in Renewable Energy Solutions (Research to Practice) Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20372

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