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Exchange: Mouse-wheel Generator

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Curriculum Exchange II

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.603.1 - 25.603.11



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Paper Authors


Dani Sledz Colorado School of Mines

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Dani Sledz, GK-12/Bechtel Fellow,Colorado School of Mines, is a mechanical engineering graduate student with a thesis focus on manufacturability of CdTe thin film solar cells. Sledz has experience through NSF fellowships with instructing students from 1-12th grade in STEM topics and as a Teaching Assistant for undergraduate college engineering labs.

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Allison M. Silvaggio STEM Magnet Lab School

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Allison M. Silvaggio is currently pursuing a doctorate in science education with a focus in experiential learning through the University of Colorado, Denver. Her master's is in elementary education, curriculum and instruction, with a focus in mathematics and science. Silvaggio partners with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Colorado School of Mines during the summer creating and teaching “The Science of Energy” for Colorado Educators.

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Exchange: Mouse-wheel GeneratorThere is a growing interest among engineers and teachers in the development and design oflesson plans that introduce renewable energy and energy generation to pre-college students. Theproposed paper will provide an outline of three lesson plans that are designed for second gradestudents. Each of these lesson plans is described briefly in the sections that follow and each willbe pilot tested prior to the development of the proposed paper. The proposed paper will includecomplete descriptions of the lessons and the qualitative results of the pilot implementation. 1. Mouse-wheel generatorIn this lesson plan, an electric motor, which can be found in many electrical devices, is attachedto a mouse wheel using a small plastic tube. This is then attached to the drive, and outputs to alow-power LED light. The instructor will use different attachments to mimic a waterwheel, awind turbine, and steam power (inverse of the waterwheel) and demonstrate that the turningmotion generates the electricity necessary to light the LED. The mouse-wheel can also bepowered with a small hand crank.Students will learn that there are many ways to spin the generator, and that the spinning motionis the power source. 2. Blackbox – the generatorIn order to better understand power generation, coloring sheets will be developed that illustrate,at a simple level, a generator and power generation. This lesson will include a small groupactivity in which the students build a simple generator using cardboard, copper wire, magnets, alow power LED light, and a nail. These components will be removable so that students can testthe importance and impact of modifying the system.Students will learn generator operation at a basic level: that as the loop is spinning within themagnets, electrons are pushed out of the loop, generating electricity. 3. Motor/GeneratorIn this lesson, the participating students will brainstorm as to what in their environment ispowered by a motor. This will be followed by the construction of a simple motor from a kit.Using the components provided in the kit, the students will compare a motor and a generator interms of components and work input/output.Most learning targets at the second grade level are focused on reading literacy. Given this, eachof the above described lesson plans will be literacy rich, requiring the reading of simpleinstructions and the writing of short explanations. Although the students will be learning aboutenergy production, their abilities to read and write will be reinforced. Basic mathematics shallalso be included in the introduction of units and power requirements for common items.

Sledz, D., & Silvaggio, A. M. (2012, June), Exchange: Mouse-wheel Generator Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21360

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