Kilowatts For Education

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On the February 14th teacher professional development day, I attended a session on the wind turbine and the other renewable energy sources located on the Kenston campus. The session was intended to give teachers of math and science in grades 6-12 an introduction to the wealth of data that is available online monitoring our green energy producers. In addition to myself, the math department was well represented by John Hochkraut, Mary Beth Hearns, Debbie Kramer, and Gretchen Fruchter. Also in attendance were Christian Barrus, Brian Turk, Katie Phillips, and Jamie Moone from science.

turbine5The informative session was presented by Aaron Godwin, founder of The Renaissance Group, a consulting firm specializing in technology for conservation and sustainability.  Aaron’s expertise in renewable energy application development helped Kenston trough the design, construction, and implementation process for our wind turbine and solar panels. Aaron is also the founder of the Kilowatts for Education consortium, which links schools and other public entities who are interested in energy savings initiatives.

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Real-time data on Kenston’s wind turbine and solar panel arrays, along with other consortium members, are available on the Kilowatts for Education site.  Check out two other schools in western Ohio, Archbold and Pettisville, with wind turbines similar to ours!

The following is a reflection on my experience:

turbine3The presenters of this session were not only affluent about the information on Kenston’s windmill, but also conserving energy in general.  They shared numerous simple modifications that we can all make in our home in order to conserve energy and save money. I do not believe there was much from this presentation that I can use in my mathematics classes however, the presenters shared an abundance of ideas,formulas, and projects that are extremely relevant to a physics class. The presenters involved the teacher audience by asking several questions and they  really challenged us to explore the vast
operations, stats, and details of our windmill in order to enhance our
classroom instruction. This was one of the most interesting presentations I
have ever attended even though I am unable to apply the information presented into my Advanced Algebra classes.  In the past I have taught statistics and I do believe that I would have some sort of activity/assignment dealing with the windmill since it is quite relevant.

turbine4With the impending changes coming in Ohio’s math curriculum due to implementation of the Common Core State Standards, real world data like that collected from the wind turbine and solar panels could prove invaluable.  As I mentioned above, I could see excellent possibilities for general statistical applications along with some targeted science questions involving physics.

In my opinion, this has been one of the most beneficial professional development days thus far.  Not only have I benefited from the  new knowledge I have found to be relevant in my classroom, but the items that I found not be relevant motivate me more to learn of things that are. I would encourage all teachers to take a few moments and explore some of the great windmill links on Kenston’s website because it may be applicable in your instruction.