EERE project

The EERE publishes Energy Savers, a site with tips to save energy. After working in an uncomfortable school with stupid air circulation issues, I thought of a cool project for students: improve your school. Investigate the financial incentives available. Learn to conduct an energy audit by reaching out to local auditors. Perform cost-benefit analyses. Present the results to the school board and school administrators.

Forget high-stakes testing when we can increase student stakes in education.

Published in: on 2009.06.28 at 17:02  Leave a Comment  
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Wind for Schools

The Kansas branch of Wind for Schools is run by KSU. This is a project-based learning opportunity with all kinds of potential. Unfortunately, to be approved, your school has to have decent wind potential. Contact them for more information and to see if your school qualifies. Because this is interdisciplinary with a fair amount of researched curriculum already developed for it, it helps to have some buy-in from colleagues before writing the grant application. The best part? This project will generate money for your district. I dare any administrator to turn that down.

For more ideas, you might check out KidWind or NEED or NREL (or NREL here ).

Published in: on 2009.06.28 at 16:44  Leave a Comment  
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“Designing an energy drink” by Doug Martin

Doug Martin, a graphic arts teacher, describes a project in which students design an energy drink label. If you haven’t been in a high school recently, you wouldn’t know that energy drinks have found avid fans in secondary school students, making this a project that students would enjoy. Although Mr. Martin has provided for distinct phases of the project to explore demographics, market research, and ingredients, the latter is done only for the purpose of completing the drink’s label with nutrition facts. He does describe possible extension projects, such as “setting up a photo shoot” for an advertisement, a “storyboard and commercial”, a web site, “viral marketing scheme”, or “promotional items” (37). These are good curriculum-aligned projects for a graphic arts class, but I think one can push further. A marketing class might ask for a comprehensive advertising strategy with consideration given to a cost-benefit analysis. A science class might ask students to design the actual contents of the drink and consider the hypothetical FDA regulation of energy drinks, that is, to justify the ingredients and their safety. One can then ask deeper questions: How do the ingredients distinguish your drink from others? What compromises are you willing to make on safety to sell your product? How far are you willing to go to market the product? These cut to the heart of science and sociology in the service of capitalism and are the sort of conversations students should have to prepare themselves to evaluate the messages that advertisers send them.
Martin, D. (2008). Designing an energy drink. Technology & Learning, 28(8), 36-7.

Published in: on 2009.06.17 at 15:39  Leave a Comment  
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