Engineering the Grid: Renewable Energy Resources

In collaboration with the FREEDM Systems Center at NC State University and The Science House, Melaine Rickard developed curricula that highlights the importance of research into sources of renewable energy. From her study of switching devices that monitor and control highly-variable power loads, electric power storage devices and the transport of energy produced by renewable sources including electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels, she created three lessons.

Lesson 1: Sources of Energy

This lesson introduces students to the idea that consumers use many types of energy to meet their needs, and each type of energy has specific characteristics along with advantages and disadvantages. Students use research techniques to become experts on a specific type of energy and then share that knowledge with others in the class using interactive technology. Students also become familiar with the terms renewable and non-renewable energy.

Lesson 2: Energy Powers Us

After reviewing different sources of renewable and nonrenewable energy, students brainstorm the types of energy they use in a day. Next students use an online simulation to provide power to a city while balancing environmental, economic, and safety concerns.

Lesson 3: Investigating Electric Vehicles (EV’s)

This lesson anchors a webquest investigation of electric vehicles and their impact on our society. Students will use EV websites to gain information on the ways EV’s are alike and different from gas-powered vehicles. Students will also categorize some of the major differences they discover. With teacher direction, students will begin to focus on the battery as a significant feature of EV’s.

Author: Melaine Rickard

Download a zip file of the lessons and supporting documents.