May 9, 2014
Energy Sources in a Classroom – Scavenger Hunt
by: Roy Bentley
I had the opportunity to attend the NSTA Convention that was held last month in Boston. It was a great show with amazing displays, topics and speakers. And of course, we had the PowerWheel there demonstrating how easy it is to teach about energy.
One of the points that came up during the show that struck me as worth exploring further was when we asked the teachers we were working with was “what sources of energy do we have in the classroom” The teachers at the show answered the lights, the power outlets, the sunshine through the windows and possibly the forced air from the heating/cooling system. No one referred to the faucet. When the teachers were asked if they had ever had the electricity fail in the school they all answered yes. When asked if they had ever experienced a water failure in the school they all answered no. It was concluded that the most reliable source of energy in the room was the faucet/(gravity).
Here is a simple classroom or home activity to help students realize how many energy sources are around them all the time! Read the rest of this entry »
May 15, 2013
by: Ken Crawford
An amazing thing happened to me about 18 months ago…I learned something new! Now, I know that might not seem like a major thing…but for a person who has been a social studies teacher and administrator for 30 + years…I sometimes think that I have seen it all…nothing much new out there…but a single phone call changed all of that.
I received a call from a friend asking if I would be willing to meet with a gentleman who had invented a new teaching “tool”. He wanted to know if it would help teachers to be more effective in their classrooms. More effective teaching is something that I am always interested in…so I agreed to meet.
What I had a chance to see was a teaching tool called the PowerWheel. A micro hydro generator, it had the capability of using water from a sink to create enough electricity to light up a string of LED lights, charge up a cell phone or even power up a notepad.
Roy Bentley, the inventor/designer, asked me if I thought it might be something that teachers could use to help them teach students about energy. I remember telling him, “I’m a social studies teacher…we need to ask some science teachers”. I put together a focus group of teachers that represented grade levels from 3rd grade through college. Some taught science all day long, others were expected to include science as part of their overall curriculum. We gathered them together in a room and just let them “play” with the PowerWheel. We had a great time, received some great feedback and saw what fantastic teaching ideas can be generated by a group of enthusiastic educators! I think I learned more about science in one day than I had in the past 20 years….it was amazing!
Read the rest of this entry »