Developing, Initiating, and Evaluating a Grade 6 Energy Education Program for the Midwest Renewable Energy Association's Solar Energy Trailer, Sun Chaser
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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The purpose of the project is to develop, initiate, and evaluate a grade 6 energy education program for the Midwest Renewable Energy Association's solar energy trailer, Sun Chaser. During these times of limited educational budgets and financial cutbacks it is almost impossible for a teacher to independently develop or purchase large scale instructional materials. This project offers an energy education program that is a scaled down version of energy saving and renewable energy devices one would find in a home. The Sun Chaser educational program was created to perform two tasks. First, the Sun Chaser educational program could be used with a group of high school student instructors. This method proved successful for both the sixth grade students and the high school students involved. Scores on tests taken by the sixth grade students indicated an increase for understanding the intended learner outcomes of the program. Second, the Sun Chaser educational program can be used in conjunction with the user manual The user manual gives directions for the set-up of all the equipment included in the program package and has an energy lesson plan section that helps teachers develop an energy unit. The program can be improved in several ways. There could be the acquisition and implementation of equipment that would allow the Sun Chaser to be used for long-term experiments. This would require a computer, sensing equipment, and the appropriate software. Once the equipment is in place, experiments monitoring light intensity and solar panel output could be conducted. Also, it is important that a vehicle is dedicated for pulling the Sun Chaser. At times it was difficult to get the Sun Chaser to locations due to the lack of a vehicle. Finally, it will be important to expand the Sun Chaser educational program promotions will be necessary. Because of the high level of satisfaction with the program from the teachers involved I feel that the program will be a success once it develops a following.