Project Examples

Renewable Energy Teaching

Course: 25.108 - Introduction to Engineering II (Mechanical Engineering)
Semester: Spring 2006
Instructor: Sammy Shina
Partner:Greater Lowell Technical High School (GLTHS)

Brief Description:

UML graduate student Chris Lin developed teaching modules for secondary school children on principles of renewable energy – modules that were then taught by Introduction to Mechanical Engineering II students. The renewable energy project focused on designing and testing solar ovens. This program helped the students to function effectively in groups, present technical information to diverse groups and practice MatLab code input.

Full Description:

This partnership built upon and strengthened previous partnership arrangements with GLTHS. Using feedback provided by GLTHS on last year’s project, Environmental Science teacher, Deborah Gustafson provided planning time with the SLICE Coordinator and Teaching Assistant (TA), Robert Williams, to discuss renewable energy curriculum integration. In addition the partnership integrated use of classroom space, communication with UML engineering students and adaptation of the teaching modules for some of her classes and those of physics teacher, Paul Mears. UML students were organized and supervised by TA Robert Williams. UML Professor Sammy Shina helped to select three UML teams, in addition to attending student presentations at GLTHS. Professor Shina was pleased and excited by how well the S-L partnership and project developed.

Last year UML graduate student Chris Lin developed teaching modules for secondary school children on principles of renewable energy which were piloted and evaluated in the classes of GLTHS science teachers Deborah Gustafson and Carol Chisolm employing the idea of a solar greenhouse. This year, at Deb’s request, the renewable energy project focused on designing and testing solar ovens. In lieu of a non-S-L assignment, 13 UML students from the Introduction to Engineering II (Mech. Eng.) class volunteered to plan and teach these modules in 45 min. class periods. The UML students as well as the GLTHS students were ethnically and gender diverse. Some of the classes were Deb Gustavson’s basic level environmental science students and some were Paul Mear’s advanced level physics students.

Learning objectives met by the S-L project were for UML students to:

  • Function effectively in groups
  • Participate in the design process within given constraints
  • Present technical information to diverse groups using Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Practice MatLab code input
  • Use instruments and gages in a laboratory environment
  • Graph data appropriately using Microsoft Excel and import into a Microsoft Word document
  • Write brief technical report using Microsoft Word
  • Learn to motivate high school students through role model techniques

Community objectives met by the S-L project:

  • High school students pay better attention to material taught by college-age students
  • Introduction of renewable energy concepts
  • Temperature readings taken on prototype solar oven
  • Discussion and preliminary data and design analysis
  • [During another day’s class period (without UML students) built and tested their own solar ovens]