As part of our goal to bring experiential education opportunities, we created a learning module that demonstrates the production of clean energy. This module is applicable for students middle school age to early undergraduate level.
The topics covered in the module include electronics, magnetism and basic physic principles such as gear ratios and Ohm’s Law.
Early development included pinpointing what topics should be taught using the module. It was known that the end goal of the module was the ability to use it to teach about clean energy. However, crossing that bridge meant starting with the basics. Clean energy is usually seen as the conversion of mechanical energy to electrical energy. This can be done using gear ratios. A larger gear moving a smaller gear. This is seen in windmills and dams for wind and water power respectfully.
Another source of energy, and what is the core of TECRE, is solar energy. Solar energy is obtained by using solar panels that when hit by the sun, electrons are displaced. The electrons absorb the energy, move up and energy level, then release this energy and fall down to the ground state level. This movement of electrons over and over again creates energy. This same movement can be replicated using magnetic fields and coils of wire. The magnetic fields rotating induce the movement of electrons in the metal wire.
It was then, that two main components of the module were known: Gear ratios and magnetic induced electron movement.
As seen in the early prototype of the module, there is a large turnstile and another smaller turnstile. The smaller turnstile is composed of two magnets attached to a rod. The plastic covering provides a surface for the metal coil to be wrapped around the magnet component.
Continuing with the development, this energy must be transfer to a grid where the energy can be properly developed. A breadboard was chosen for this. A breadboard is representative of a grid. Circuits can be built replicating certain towns, cities, or even individual systems such as houses. Circuits on a breadboard open up a world of opportunities to mimic real-world energy systems with youth.
Since these learning goals focus on a few scientific principles, the module can be adapted to each grade level depending on how deeply the principles want to be explored. For example, a middle school student may understand observations in a more qualitative perspective. A learning module for middle school students may reply more heavily on simple math. Whereas a college module may be more based heavily in the root concepts of electricity and magnetism. Linked below a module lab procedures for each age-group.
These are just basic modules. The ideas presented in these modules can be expanded or scaled down.
The components of the updated model for school implementation includes original components, an oscilloscope and a voltmeter for quantitative measurements.
The use of the modules are to be paired with a lecture. Pre-exercise discussions would establish a foundation of student understanding around the working principles of the unit, such as the electronics basics and breadboard operation shown on the right.
A video presentation that could be displayed alongside lectures is provided below.