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Graduate Students Help to Create a Discovery-based and Cooperative Learning Experience about Clean Energy for High School Students (Curriculum Exchange)

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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

K-12 and Pre-College Engineering Division Curriculum Exchange

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.653.1 - 24.653.2



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Paper Authors


Justin Michael Hutchison University of Illinois

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Justin Hutchison, M.S., is currently a doctoral student in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois. He is treasurer of the local student chapter of American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and a coordinator for graduate student outreach in the Civil and Environmental Graduate Student Professional Development Program. Mr. Hutchison is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and recipient of the University of Illinois Clean Energy Education, Mavis Future Faculty, and Kuehn Fellowships.

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Graduate students help to create a discovery-based and cooperative learning experience about clean energy for high school students (curriculum exchange)This activity focused on the collaboration of three ______ High School teachers and graduatestudents from Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of ________ to developopportunities for high school students in clean energy engineering discovery-based andcooperative learning at ______ High School in _______, ________. In this learning activity,graduate students led lessons for Advanced Placement Environmental Science (APES) studentsfocusing on clean energy technologies including photovoltaic, solar thermal, wind, water andbiological-based energy production. Discovery-based lessons for each clean energy technologywere developed and presented by graduate students. The basic concepts for the energyproduction was explained in a lecture and field-trip format. For photovoltaic energy, lessonsincluded explanation of the concept of photovoltaic cells and demonstration of actual cells. Solarthermal lessons included the concept of energy transfer including radiation and conduction.Wind and water lessons focused on concepts of aerodynamics and fluids, and direct currentenergy produced from magnetic fields reinforced with a field trip to a wind farm. Finally,biological-based energy production lessons included basic concepts in microbiological methaneproduction and thermochemical liquefaction processes. Biological-based energy production wasdemonstrated during a field trip to the local wastewater treatment facility. For discovery-basedlearning, students developed hypotheses followed by experimentation. Example experimentsincluded varying the source of light for photovoltaic cells, exploring different fabrics for solarthermal heating, and developing optimal blade construction for wind mills. Advanced PlacementEnvironmental Science students were then tasked with internalizing the information anddeveloping lessons, under guidance from the teacher and graduate students, on clean energy foran Integrated Physical Science (IPS) class comprised of Special Education students and EnglishLanguage Learners. Following the presentations by APES students, the IPS students weredivided into smaller working groups with an APES student acting as the group manager. Thesmall groups were tasked with designing, building and testing inventions that improved upon orspecifically used solar, wind, water or biologically-derived energy. As a culmination to theproject, the high school students presented their inventions to a mock-investor panel whichincluded faculty from the University of ________, entrepreneurs from the Research Park at theUniversity of ________, and researchers from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers _____________________ _________ __________. This activity-based, cooperative learning experiencehelped high school students develop the communication skills necessary to explain engineeringand science content to specific audiences.

Hutchison, J. M. (2014, June), Graduate Students Help to Create a Discovery-based and Cooperative Learning Experience about Clean Energy for High School Students (Curriculum Exchange) Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20544

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