NTEP II Fermilab LInC Online

Middle School Home Energy Audit

In the Classroom - Teaching Example


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Introduction: This unit(lessons) is a set of activities both hands-on and WEB driven that will allow the student to comprehend the sun as a reliable source of energy. The assessment of the learning will be a presentation(student choice) to a housing developer. Students will test several solar models, make geographical comparisons via the Internet and decide which area and model will work best for their locale.

Overview: The class is a 7th grade integrated science class being instructed by a 30 year teaching veteran. Due to the current time of the year, this set of lessons will be delayed until the Spring of the year. Solar projects have been attempted during Winter months but the activities can be interrupted by weather or heat lose due to ambient temperature difference.

Most activities presented by the teacher are projects with deadlines set where a segment of the project is due a scheduled intervals and the final project is the compilation of those segments. Students have difficulty in attempting large interdisciplinary projects without guidance and time to complete the project. Time management can defeat the project due to the student procrastination.

A segment of the District's curriculum is stated as "Nature of Science". The directives within those goals is to have the students prepare, evaluate and share scientific investigations. Latitude is given to the instructor on how the classroom activities will provide the best means of accomplishing this goal. A District rubric and assessment are to be used to assess the students.

Technology is available as a Lab set up with 18 computers but only available to the students on a sign up basis. Due to class scheduling the access to the Lab is 2 periods for the team. These computers are linked to the Internet and students have to have a signed parent contract to use the computer. A single computer is available in the classroom. This coupled with class periods being 49 minutes does cause a bottleneck in using technology.

The classroom is set up with 18 - 2 person science lab tables. There is a teacher lab station at the front of the room.

Instruction style is that an agenda is posted for the week and a daily agenda expands the day's activities. The instructor goes over the day agenda and students are given directions both orally and written on the board. Students are asked questions and in turn may ask questions for clarification. Class begins and the teacher circulates monitoring the class. Several activities may be ongoing. Activities may tie with a larger project or may help develop a segment of a scientific concept. Student may have to choose a level of difficulty that best suits their learning style or needs.

Students are assessed by teacher/district formative and summative assessments. Rubrics are shared with the students prior to them becoming involved with a project By doing the large project in smaller segments, adjustments in instruction can be made allowing for continual student progress.

Solar Project Introduction: The students will be given the student page that introduces the project also the project rubric will be handed out and discussed. Timelines will be set. Students then will begin their planning for their project presentation. Students will be given an option of doing the project in groups of 2,3,4 participants.

Skills student should have prior to beginning the project: Graphing, map reading, Web navigating, e-mail, bulletin board, oral and writing presentations, scientific investigation.

Students are given the Website address and allowed to activate the site. The first introduction will be in the computer lab in order for the all students to access the complete package of materials. Depending on the student's prior knowledge and interest, will cause students to be at different learning levels. Content branching for the student's will need to be available in order for each person to reach a base set of concepts. Students will make several models of solar collectors, do an energy audit of their home, contact others students doing the similar set of experiments, use the Internet to seek current expertise and insolation data.

Teacher will define activities, ask leading questions, provide technical support, adjust timelines and do ongoing formative assessments.

Students will make a presentation to the class on the best style of collector and geographical location for the home builder to locate their new subdivisions. The presentation should make a logical conclusion based on information gathered from the activities and Internet investigations. Final conclusions could be posted on the Net, shared with local power utility or sent to sent to the local homebuilder's association.


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Created: September 9, 1998 - Updated: July 31, 2001
URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/ntep/f98/projects/nrel/scenariojs.shtml