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Experience With An Alternative Energy Workshop For Middle School Science Teachers

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Engineering Professional Development for K-12 Teachers – I

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.712.1 - 12.712.12



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Paper Authors

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R. Mark Nelms Auburn University

author page

Regina Halpin Program Evaluation and Assessment

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

For the morning session of the second workshop day, the teachers were divided into two groups. One group went to the Auburn University Solar House shown in Figure 3. This house was constructed for the 2002 Solar Decathlon competition held in Washington D.C. by the US Department of Energy. The operation of the electrical system in the solar house was described and related to the ideas and concepts presented on the first day of the workshop. The solar house was utilized as a platform to discuss energy efficiency in the design and construction of residential dwellings. A second group convened in a computer laboratory to discuss weather data. A real-time weather web site ( was accessed to examine weather data and a web site through which weather data from the AU Solar House was viewed and comparisons were made. The use of this weather data in the classroom was discussed as related to solar energy. The teachers were given two activities that required them to utilize the real-time weather data provided via the Internet. During this portion of the workshop, the teachers were given the Alabama math and language arts curriculum standards as a reference to determine how the weather and energy-related concepts were interdisciplinary and could be team-taught. At the midpoint of the morning session, the two groups exchanged locations so that both groups had the opportunity to view the solar house and learn how to integrate weather- related activities with the alternative energy concepts. The teachers discovered from these activities that the topic of weather, which is familiar to all students, was an interesting introduction to the more complex alternative energy concepts. Furthermore, they were able to learn how to integrate language arts into their lesson plans by completing open-ended activities that required writing explanations and descriptions using the weather and energy data from the Internet. This led into a discussion of how the content was interdisciplinary.

Figure 3. The Auburn University Solar House

Nelms, R. M., & Halpin, R. (2007, June), Experience With An Alternative Energy Workshop For Middle School Science Teachers Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2387

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