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Project ideas  

This is the place to put ideas for the project part of the workshop---and to discuss these ideas. This discussion is the pathway to finding a project that you are excited about and people who might work with you on this project or a complementary one.


Share edittextuser=3 post_id=14275 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4142

OK, no binding promises, but I would be interested on working in either:

Tracking your electrons: How is electricity distributed, sold, and bought? I need to understand this topic, so I will try to ask the right questions from one of our energy companies.

Ocean-derived energy: Waves, tides, and currents. Mostly science-fiction at this time, but again I would be interested on finding out what is the state-of-the-art.

Horacio Ferriz


Share edittextuser=510 post_id=14276 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4142

I would be interested in creating a collection of case studies of specific facilities that utilize each of the various primary sources of energy (at least one example facility for each primary source - more than one if different technologies are used, for example, a photovoltaic plant, a concentrating plant, and hot water system, in the case of solar energy). The intent would be for these to be used to teach about each of these sources, as part of other lesson plans

For each example facility, we would include at least:
Primary energy source
Geographic distribution of the primary source - e.g. insolation maps for solar
Temporal patterns regarding the source - e.g. tides twice daily; wind intermittent and seasonal
Location of facility: lat-long and a Google Earth kmz file
Power output of facility
Population served by the facility
Diagrams that illustrate how the technology functions
Environmental impact of the facility
Any interesting history regarding the particular facility


Share edittextuser=1579 post_id=14278 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4142

For incorporating solar radiation data, I am thinking of a few ideas (brainstorming at this feel free to "storm" with me, if you think of ideas)...

(1) Where should solar ovens be distributed? i.e., Where does economic need mesh with availability of solar flux?

(2) A more science oriented lesson, still using solar radiation data...Compare parameters (near-surface temperature, incoming SW flux, amt of black carbon, or ____ for certain locations, with a problem or scenario to solve.


Share edittextuser=4919 post_id=14287 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4142

So, not being an energy expert here is my idea for a classroom project:

Using the data available at:

Students would analyze both the types of energy used locally and the types and amounts of emissions produced.

I am not sure how easy it would be to do but I would like to have an excel file that would link the emissions to the energy sources that would be dynamically linked to energy use.

The students would be able to manually change the energy use and see the change in emissions.

I would then challenge the students to reduce the overall emission budget using a combination of the most common energy sources. Each energy source would be rated in a few different categories (foreign reliance, cost of implementation, public perception (NIMBY), feasibility, and environmental impact) and their totals for each category would also have limits.

This is a very rough outline but I think it might make a great, locally relevant project.


Share edittextuser=4909 post_id=14288 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4142

Susan :
The caribbean is a great place to use solar ovens, the sun shines on us at an average of 280-290 days of the year. I mean direct with no clouds, the sun always shines on us.

As for location - As I mentioned Haiti and even places within Dominican Republic.
It could be a two sided program- reforestation at the same time educational with the integration of solar energy and the development of a training session on how to create your own solar oven.

As for parameters on a very simple activity we had planned on creating a solar oven and requesting a local cookies company to provide us with raw dough so that cookies could be cooked comparing three methods- solar, gas oven and electrical oven. And then sell them all for funds to continue investigating. We had planned this for 2009 Wetlands Day (feb 2) but never got to do it. it is worth the try... we are going to be working with some students this summer and I am going to include it. The cookies could be called the green cookies and then we could dye them green ( the dough) As for parameters (I am more on the K-7th) temp, time,energy needed/consumption vs carbon footprint. for higher grades more complex parameters- vreate charts, just food for thought


Share edittextuser=4847 post_id=14289 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4142

I had been thinking of using data from the university campus in my energy course. I have an existing assignment where students complete a home heating audit (from Hinrichs and Kleinbach), but I thought it would be interesting to expand beyond their homes to consider a larger system. Apparently, we have electrical, heating etc. data for every building on campus, so we could use real time data for a lab exercise. How exactly, I haven't figured out yet.

But after hearing Glenn's talk this morning, I am also thinking of using a variation of his Google Earth project. We have a 3D lab in our department, so I was thinking that groups could present their recommendations to other students after working on some ideas for local sites. What I don't know yet is whether the 3D view would add anything to the project. One possible difficulty is that my classes are always 100+ in size, so we would have to organize learning Google Earth well for it to work.


Share edittextuser=3337 post_id=14290 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4142

I would be interested in working on developing case studies or class excercises that seek to illustrate to social science/political science students the following:

1) the current energy portofolio and energy use in the US relative to other high-income countries

2) how critical government policies and incentives are to realizing the potential of renewable sources of energy.

A short background: I teach an environmental policy class, in which we devote 1-2 weeks to energy and natural resource management. One case study we've used is ANWR; another focused on states' renewable portfolio standards (RPS). I am looking at ways to expand and update the case studies that work best for political science majors.


Share edittextuser=4885 post_id=14291 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4142

I will not be able to participate in this afternoon's session, but will be happy to help with case studies, ideas on using Google Earth, etc., so will check this thread again tonight and again tomorrow morning to see what people are thinking about doing.

Maureen - for your large classes, you could demo a few simple Google Earth skills in class - creating folders and placemarks, opening an existing kmz file, and saving a place (folders or individuals placemarks) ("Save Place As ..." in the pull down menu after right-clicking). That may be sufficient to support a homework activity. A caveat - if they are using a version earlier than GE 6 - make sure they use "Save Place As ...", not "Save to My Places". Also - For saving a set of placemarks in a folder as a kmz file, they need to make sure they right-click the folder - not the individual placemarks. Those are the two most common problems I've seen. Occasionally, I have also seen students create a folder, then forget to create their placemarks *within* the folder. Then they save the folder, but the placemarks are not included. As long as they catch the problem before they quit Google Earth, they can correct it by dragging the placemarks into the folder, then saving the folder again.

After the first save, they are asked, prior to finalizing subsequent saves, whether they would like to replace the existing file, and the answer is "yes".

Enjoy the afternoon session, everyone!


Share edittextuser=1579 post_id=14292 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4142

Here's are exercises that are related to the campus energy audit proposed by Maureen:


Share edittextuser=3 post_id=14294 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=4142

This post was editted by William Gagne-Maynard on Jul, 2011
Instructions for work time

Here is the same info sent out by email on Tuesday afternoon and re-posted here for the sake of thoroughness.

Now we move onto our work time. We understand there has been a bit of confusion about how this works, so I will explain the steps in this email and provide links to the pertinent web pages. Be sure to ask questions if you are uncertain as to how to proceed.

Our goal for the rest of the workshop is to work either independently or in small groups to create an idea for teaching energy. There are different types of projects you can work on. You could design a new activity, plan an new course, or share an "item" or a component that could be used to teach with. For each type of project, we've made an online form where you can fill in the fields and submit the idea.

New activity: such as a lab using Google Earth, an inventory of energy that goes into various types of foods, or a student inquiry about per capita energy consumption in different countries

Useful item: such as a KMZ file containing data on emissions from power plants, a data set you've compiled or a map you've made. These are not activities, but they are raw ingredients that someone could use to make an activity

A new course (or unit): This could be a new module about energy that goes into another course, or it could be a brand new course. We know that a huge amount of work goes into designing a course, so this exercise is offered as a first step down that path

Working in groups vs working independently
Either method is fine. Some folks prefer to work alone and others like the interaction with colleagues. Some groups have already been formed, but you can use this email list to query for new partners.

The groups we formed this afternoon are:

Susan Moore - Solar ovens (working independently)
Maureen Padden, Todd Greene and Billy Goodman - Google Earth
Ander Sundell - tracing energy use/sources on the municipal scale (Horatio is interested in this topic too)
Tatyana Ruseve - comparing energy use between nations
Lane Seely and Karin Kirk - energy impact of food choices
Gretchen Guzman, Liz Gordon and Evelina Felicite-Maurice - Ocean energy (Horatio is interested in this topic too)

If you are not listed above then you can join an existing group, you can create a new group (by sending a query to this email list ) or you can work independently on a project.

How to contact your group
Start by using email to contact your group members (email addresses have been sent to everyone in the workshop). If there are more than 2 people in your groups and you would like us to set up a conference call line, we can do that. Skype also works well for conference calls and is free.

How to submit your project

1. Select one of the project types above.
2. The links take you to forms to fill out. Fill out the form as much as you can in your initial work session.
3. Submit your form. Then send an email to these two addresses (kkirk at and mbruckne at
4. We will then make your submission into a web page. If you submit your form during the night, we won't be back in touch until daytime. (we love our jobs, but we do like to sleep at night)
5. At that point you can continue to edit your web page. You will need a SERC account to do this.
6. Complete your page by Sunday evening

Phew - that's a lot of info - I hope it's helpful and let me know what questions you have. Thanks!


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