U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Energy Education & Workforce Development
Text-Alternative Webcast of the Energy Literate Citizenry from K-to-Gray
Michelle Fox: Hi, good afternoon everyone and welcome to today's webinar on energy literacy. Thank you for joining. I want to thank also the Department of Education for their Green Strides Webinar Series and the Green Ribbon Schools Program. We like to joke that they're the "other" DOE, although we got the acronym first and so we are from the U.S Department of Energy (DOE).
My name is Michelle Fox, I'm the Chief Strategist for Education and Workforce Development here in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. A quick note on housekeeping, everyone will be on mute, and questions can be typed in the chat box during the presentation. Some will be answered at the end if time allows and other will be emailed in. We will provide our contact information at the end.
To begin we'd like to talk to you about why the DOE deals with energy literacy and why it even appears in the DOE strategic plan. The strategic plan, which was published in 2011 stated that the Department will "actively participate in the development and implementation of a coordinated national energy education or energy literacy effort." A modest understanding of energy sources, generation, use, and conservation strategies will enable informed decisions on topics from home energy use to international energy policy. The Department will leverage relationships with academic institutions, other federal agencies, industry, other organizational, and stakeholders to improve understanding and awareness of energy issues.
The framework we will be discussing is one of the results of this call to action. We hear a lot of talk about clean energy, climate change, and all of the above key concepts, so that citizens, whatever age, can bridge science, engineering and economic concepts to help make more informed decisions about their own energy use. Another reason is that energy is truly something that bridges science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEM fields. Energy literacy can help contribute to national goals around STEM education in various industries and sectors. Having a more energy literate citizenry has also a number of benefits for example economic development that can be realized through energy saving and jobs for those helping save energy, improve competitiveness as we choose innovative technologies, enhance energy security by reducing dependency on foreign oil, protecting our health and safety by mitigating the impact of energy production and use. Traditionally we've not been teaching and learning about energy in a system based approach. Today we are here to present the DOE lead interagency effort that resulted in the Energy Literacy framework. I'll turn it over to DaNel to tell you more about that.
DaNel Hogan: Thanks Michele and thanks for everyone who is joining us today. Like any good teacher we are going to start with what we are going to go over today. Hopefully you'll be able to find at least two or three resources that you'll be able to share with either your stakeholders or to use yourself. Today we hashtag #energyliteracy and for those of you who are using Twitter, we encourage you to tweet throughout the webinar and beyond to engage a community of educators around energy education, ideas, and topics. During the webinar today we're going to focus on the Energy Literacy framework. This is the foundation of the Energy Literacy Initiative.
We'll look at how it was developed, the foundation of teaching and learning concepts come from the framework on the K-12 science education from the National Education Research Council. How energy literacy ties into those. We'll look beyond that at the postsecondary level and how the energy literacy concepts have been taught at that level as well. Next, we'll look at energy education resources including some exciting resources that are in beta and currently available to educators for use. Of course everything we're highlighting today is free for educators, which is really important. We will end with a look at the importance of energy literacy. Then follow up with contact information. If we have time than any questions that we can go over. Again, I want to remind you, if we don't get your questions today, you can email us at the energy literacy email address as well and we will provide that again at the end of the webinar.
So when we look at the framework for energy education it was developed as part of a series of literacy frameworks that have come before it. The energy literacy document itself was developed through a series of workshops and feedback and this involved a huge number of stakeholder from federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations and formal and informal education institutions.
We'd like to give a special thanks to Matthew Inman, Einstein Fellow for facilitating in the development and publication of energy literacy framework. Of special note, the energy literacy and climate energy framework have actually been approved by the U.S Global Change Research Program federal agency. Those you can see on the back cover of our document and this has certainly been very important. You can also see a list of education partners, and I will say this is just a partial list. There have been lots more that have been involved in getting energy literacy framework to work.
This interagency involvement has helped broaden the impact of the energy literacy framework. It has lead to collaboration between the Department of Energy and other agencies listed here and with the education partners as well.
Now we'd like to look at the teaching and learning that underlies the development of this framework for education from the National Research Council. You might recognize this and their connection to the Next Generation Science Standards which we'll talk about a bit later as well. Again the framework for K-12 Science education came from The National Research Council.
It's calling for a fundamental change in the way we approach STEM Education. The way that it is taught, the way that it is organized, and how we are engaging learners. This is evident in those Next Generation Science standards which we will get to later and how they incorporate the nature of science and the engineering practices within those performance expectations.
We're challenging educators to use the interdisciplinary systems based approach when teaching about energy. Let's take advantage of what we know about learning and engage learners through hands on activities. Let's also allow them to change understanding about energy use and energy use issues through a series of learning experiences that start in kindergarten and extend through a lifetime of engagement. That is why we like to use our favorite term K to gray. We want everyone to be energy literate. Let's make energy education engaging, exciting, and relevant. It does seem to be a topic where students get really excited about it and certainly something the general population interested in knowing more about. Let's make sure that our entire population has an opportunity to become energy literate and decision related to energy issues. It's a great way to engage students around topics that they can actually get involved with.
Our goal is ultimately to develop an energy literate citizenry who understand the energy system from the science, to the engineering and technology, as well as from the social political side. A comprehensive study of energy must be interdisciplinary. Energy issues cannot be understood and problems cannot be solved by using only a natural science or engineering approach as has typically been done in the past. Energy issues often require an understanding of civics, history, economics sociology, psychology, and politics in addition to science technology and engineering and mathematics.
Let's talk now a little bit about the intended use and audience of the Energy Literacy framework.The Energy Literacy framework is not a document that's intended to make you energy literate. It is not a text book. It is not to be used as a text book, but instead it's meant to be used by educators again from K to gray who are engaging learners around energy issues and energy topics.
It's meant to be used in both formal and informal settings. For standards development and we are happy to say that we see some of the language from our concepts within the Next Generation Science Standards. The Energy Literacy framework is also meant to be used as the basis for curriculum improvement and design. For people who are already teaching about energy can you boarding what you are teaching about can you improve more of the concepts and move towards this more interdisciplinary systems based approach to teaching about energy.
If you're designing a program, then we're encouraging people to use the Energy Literacy framework from the beginning as a foundation for them. We will highlight some of the programs and projects that are doing just that. It can also be used to inform assessment development and for educator training. At the end we'll also show you how to access the energy literacy framework from our website. It is available in PDF format as well as a word version. You can also request up to 5 hard copies for yourself. If you are providing an educator training than we can send limited quantities for the teachers that are participating in your workshop just email us at the Energy Literacy email address (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Now we're going to dive a little bit deeper into the actual structure of the energy literacy document.Seven essential principles, you'll notice that these are interdisciplinary, earth systems science, biology or life science, energy and technology. Then we get into the social science with the economic and political side as well as behaviors and how energy can affect quality of life.
Each one of these seven essential principles is actually supported by six to eight fundamental concepts. We are not going to have enough time to go into all of those, but I wanted to show you one example. For the first essential principle this is directly out of the framework. These are the eight fundamental concepts that have been identified that further expand on how energy is a physical quantity. For each one of these concepts there is also a short little description that goes with them. So you can see how this is much more a standards like document.
The first essential principal is our physical science principal and is summed up as energy is a physical quantity. So this encompasses the traditional physical side of energy, from energy transfers to chemical and nuclear reactions all the units that we use to measure energy and power, the different forms of energy and so on. Examples of how you might engage learners around the physical science side of energy include hands on energy lessons different activities. Investigating energy transfers and investigates how energy is transferred from one form into another, into another and how with each of those transformations you lose energy to thermal energy. Engineering efficient devices for transforming energy from one form into another.
Also the fact that energy is driving the movement of matter through reservoirs, and engaging students around the carbon cycle. This is also where we would look at the greenhouse effect and notice how that plays into the flow of energy.
Examples of things that you could use to engage learners around the earth system science side of energy include again, looking at the the water cycle, carbon cycle, experiment with model atmospheres with varying concentrations of carbon dioxide, investigate the role of salt and global oceanic circulation. You could also have a look at black carbon, which has recently been in the news, and how it might be contributing to climate change. This is an easy way to pick something that we have seen in the news recently and turn it into a really relevant engaging topic that students can look at.
The third principle is the life science principle that looks at the biological processes. Depending on energy flow. Here we would want learners to think about how the sun is a major source of energy for organisms and ecosystems here on earth. Food is a biofuel and is a source of energy for those organisms. You can also engage learners around energy flows from producers to consumers and then to decomposers and how energy and matter effect ecosystems and how humans, as a part of that ecosystem, influence the flow of energy.
Some examples on how to engage learners around the life science principals are to analyzing the benefits and threats to coral reef systems, turning pond scum or green goo into power, which is really interesting and a great way to engage learners. Of course if it's kind of icky gooey and messy, then people get excited about that.
The fourth principle is engineering technology and practice principle. Various sources of energy are used to power human activities. Now we are starting to constrain to the energy use in particular how energy in fossil fuels can be traced back to the sun. How humans transport energy, how they generate energy, how they store energy, and how technology and engineering have benefits and drawbacks.
Examples of how you can engage learners here include solar energy investigations. So, how can we actually harness energy from the sun? Students can again design and build and improve wind turbines and this is a great place to mention that there are some fantastic student competitions centered around energy.
Kidwind has a competition a wind competition for K-12 students. Also, here at the Department of Energy, we're sponsoring a Solar Decathlon. You can find more information on our website.
So we really have to weigh the cost and benefits of those decisions that we're making. Energy decisions can all be influenced by economic factors, environmental factors as well as social factors. And there's lots of interesting ways to engage learners by seeing the effects of local resource development so you can make this a very place based and relevant issue for students. We can do energy audits, and these are fun to do at any level. You can call these something like waste watchers, energy scene investigators playing off of the crime scene investigators seem to be popular.
You can also have people look at energy efficiency in their home and we have lots of great publications on tips on how you can save energy at your home. And a really cool program that some public libraries have is a system for checking out kilowatt meters so you can check them out just like you can check out a library book. These are devices that you can plug into an outlet and then plug in an appliance to see how much energy those appliances are using and how you might cut back on energy at your house.
The sixth essential principle is the behavior side of the science, so human's use of energy is influenced by lots of factors. This is also where we talk about a second meaning for conservation of energy so beyond having the law of conservation of energy from physics we also talk about the conservation of energy as a way to and with limited energy resources. This is defiantly a huge concern. Energy use is affected by social and technological innovation and we have to look at behavior and design effect at the energy use. Product and services also carry and embedded energy use with them so the food we eat and everything that we purchase has some amount of energy that has been used to produce that product. Example of ways that you can engage student in this essential principle is look at how big your foot print is. Whether it is your carbon foot print, your water foot print, or your energy foot print. Looking at transportation choices and their impact what are the pros and cons. This is also where you can engage the learners in the web games. Some of you will already be familiar with this, different ways that you can reduce carbon emission. We'll also highlight a really great tool called The BITES tool Buildings, Industry, Transportation, and Electricity Scenario tool it allows learners to engage in those four different sectors about how choices and changes can affect primary but the fact that cheeseburgers carry with them a certain amount of energy to produce them. As well as get those to where you are going to consume them can have an impact on any ecosystem including the ocean.
When we are talking about the conservation of energy topics it is also a great place to look at technology and new innovations that can allow for saving energy. It is a great place to look at comparing light bulbs and see how changing out light bulbs can be a simple way to save energy.
The last essential is another social science principal and it essentially says that energy can affect the quality of life. So economic security, national security are all affected by energy choices. Access to energy affects quality of life. This is an interesting way where you can also bring gender issues into the classroom centered on energy topics. A lot of you don't think about it energy can be a gender issue. In developing nations often times women are around the camp fires families are sitting around kerosene lamps and that pollution can have serious health affects. That tends to be skewed more towards women who are around those fires more often than men.
We can also look at how development of renewable energy resources. This is a great place to bring in some liberal arts or language arts as well. There's a great book called the Boy Who Harnessed the Wind that looks at a boy from Mali was able to able to use wind energy to impact his local community. The book is great for learners of all ages because not only is it available for high school level and above but there is a children's version of it as well.
We have a Wedges game. This is where you can look at different wedges that will actually, where you can make choices about which wedge you are going to use in order to cut by. We will provide a link on our website so that you can find that a little more easily.
Next, now that we've kind of looked at the essential principles. We want to look at an alignment tool that we have available for you. The Energy Literacy alignment tool is really just the framework put into an excel spreadsheet. But what it allows you to do is look at each of these principles and you might be trying to align your curriculum with a specific program or class that you are developing. It allows you to go through and look at each of the different concepts that are under each of the essential principles and indicate if your curriculum, program, or activity is thoroughly addressing that energy literacy concept if it supports it or if it is not addressed at all. You can work through the entire document and look at which of the concepts you're developing. You can work through the entire document and look which of the concepts that you are covering.
We are no trying to claim that one course would make you energy literate or your course will cover all of that. Can you cover more, did you realize that you were not covering some of the different concepts and so on.
Some examples of where people have used this alignment document include research institutions and its Museum of the Earths Rainbow Chart and what they've done is aligned the earth science bigger ideas with actually all of literacy principles from all of different documents so they have included oceans, climate, atmospheric science and energy literacy and looked at how those overlap with earth science bigger ideas. There a sustainability and prison project out in Washington not exactly your traditional learning audience but they have used the energy literacy framework to inform the development of sustainability course for inmates that they have developed.
There's also many K-12 organizations around the country that are within our framework and improving and expanding their programs based on that alignment. Another nontraditional learning audience, the realtors, we've had realtors use and develop a course on sustainability and use our framework to guide their work in terms of that course. This alignment tool will allow you to look at what you're doing already it also provides you with a radar graph so you can see where you are doing a really great job. So in this case, which I have provided an example I'm doing a great job on the quality of life social science side and physical science side and not covering so much the concepts covering the other essential principles. So that's our alignment tool.
Next we're going to talk about the K-12 Next Generation Science Standards. You should know that the second draft was just released not too long ago and public comment is now closed. We are expecting a final draft of the next generation science standards I believe sometime in March (2013). We're happy to say that energy is a cross-cutting concept within the Next Generation Science Standards. Again, we recognize some of the energy literacy concepts within the performance expectations that have already been included in the draft, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, but computer science, social science, and not just the physical science, but also the life science and earth systems side of it as well.
Just to look a little bit more deeply at the Next Generation Science Standards, we're going to break this down into elementary, middle school and high school and look at in that second draft we found energy being covered. At the elementary level, we see it first starting in kindergarten looking at sunlight and friction and then you can see in fourth and fifth grade you see it get a little bit more boarded. Lessons on our website are making a solar oven out of a pizza box. This is a great way to engage student not only in a hands on activity, but with a can also be turned into an engineering design challenge where they can where they can create a pizza box oven and then improve upon that. It is also where you can bring in plants to your class room and look at how plants can go into your gas tank eventually. Power for the plug what are we using as primary sources of energy to get that electricity that ultimately comes out of the plug at our house.
At the middle school level you will notice that the performance expectation focus on the physical science and life science side of things. So what does the sun give us in terms of energy? So it's a great way to look at tying all of the energy transformations on earth back to the original source of the sun.
At the high school level, you'll notice that it gets a lot more complicated. You can take a look at the human impact which opens up the social science of energy literacy, also understanding earth's energy sources. The carbon cycle can be talked about here as well, again, looking into producer's consumers and decomposers and energy flows within ecosystems. There is really a lot to be taken in here and it covers a broad range within the sciences, but we are also calling for it to include a more broad the social science aspects as well.
If we look beyond the Next Generation Science Standards, we're also trying to push those to post-secondary. We are trying to coordinate a model of some Energy 101 courses that would be at the freshman level in college. We're happy to say that a pilot course has been launched at the University of Maryland at College Park. It was developed using the energy literacy framework at the foundation and we have two community colleges that plan to start their model Energy 101 course in the spring time.
There will be more information and information about how to get involved in the energy 101 courses later. So if you are a post secondary educator we will give you contact information and ways that you can get more involved with it. We really feel like in order to make energy literate citizenry we have to focus on providing general education courses for everyone at the college level to engage around the energy issue.
Now we're going to talk about some of the exciting energy education resources that are currently available. We have some great things to highlight here and we are going to talk about each one of these individually and show you some of the functionality of some of the tools.
The first one is the BITES Tool, which comes from the National Renewable Energy Lab. BITES stands for Energy Industry Transportation and Electricity Scenarios tool. This allows learners to actually engage in each of those four energy sectors. In order to look at how we can reduce our dependence on different primary energy sources as well as how we can reduce or stabilize our CO2 output. This is still in beta so they are looking for lots of feedback on how you might use this as an educator. I can see applications for using this from the middle school level all the way through the graduate school level. When we look at the tool itself a little bit closer, a user who is building a scenario would look at each of the sectors. This is an example that I've done for the webinar today just looking at buildings in basic mode, somebody looking at a scenario would be able to adjust all of these different factors also something that I cannot show you because it is not live on the website, should you hover over any of these different options it will give you an explanation of what you are actually adjusting.
In an advanced mode this gets broken out into hundreds of different options. Somebody building a scenario would work through the buildings sector, industry sector, transportation, and electricity. They would then save their adjustments and generate outputs. Once they have generated output what they will be able to see is what their scenario has done to reduce emission. It is all based on an outlook looking at 2050, how energy use has been reduced and oil use reductions by 2050 as well. Beyond just providing some summary data it will also give you a chance to look at different graphs that look at not only carbon dioxide emissions but also primary energy sources.
This is a graph we can look at energy sources from where we're starting in 2010 out through 2050. It will certainly allow people to engage with choice that can be made to within each of those four sectors and how that can impact our dependence on primary energy sources as well as CO2 output.
Next we're going to highlight CLEAN, the Climate Literacy Energy and Awareness Network. This is a reviewed collection of resource for K-gray with an emphasis on K-12. So when we say K to gray, we're talking about our entire population, as opposed to just focusing on K-12 we are focusing on adult learners, people who are out of the education system already. So beyond just engaging K-12th and postsecondary students. The Climate Literacy Network meets weekly over webinars for anybody who's interested in engaging with the Climate Literacy Network.
The next energy site is EIA's Energy Kids and Energy Explained. Energy Explained is their adult version of Energy Kids, so it is nonpartisan source for energy facts and data on the entire range of energy topics, state energy profiles.
Another energy education resource we'd like to highlight is the National Training and Education Resource. It is now in Beta and is a project attempts to accelerate the rate at innovation around training to improve learning outcomes dramatically. Just to look at this a little bit closer, this is the home page for the National Training and Educational Resource site. We just want to show you what some of the screenshots look like from some of the courses that are here.
This is a 3d simulation of somebody that is going to walk through this house and do some different activities. When we look at the National Training and Education Resource, we just don't have the time to talk about its full functionality and capabilities here but I would encourage you to look at the webcast that we have achieved at our site. The address is given here. Again, if you're frantically writing down any of these addresses, we're going to archive not only the webinar today and the presentation. You will have access to all of these websites.
Plus, we'd like to highlight our own website that has scholarships, internships, fellowships, and student competitions, whether it is K-12 competitions or university level competitions. How you can green your school and green your community, career information links and all kinds of other great resources. So there are a lot of exciting things out there that we haven't had a chance to highlight. I'm going to turn this back over to Michelle Fox so she can talk and then we will have some time for questions and give you our contact information at the end.
Michelle Fox: I just have one or two minutes to summarize, so be thinking about your questions. Literacy matters think without a basic understanding of energy, energy sources, generation, use, conservation strategies individuals and communities cannot make informed choices on topics ranging from smart energy use at home and consumer choices to national and international policy and that is really what set us off on this path with so current national and global issues such as fossil fuel supply and climate change highlight the need for energy education. There's also a need for energy innovation.
DaNel Hogan: So if you want to request copies, you can go to our website. You'll also be able to download that alignment tool that we highlighted. Just click energy literacy link on the right. If you need more than that because you are running a professional development workshop for educators than we are happy to provide you with a limited number of copies. In order to request more than five copies just email us at the Energy Literacy email address that we've provided, and we'll get those out to you.
I also just want to highlight some of the work that we're doing to continue in the future engaging our stake holders. I will say that Energy 101 course is looking to expand and more broadly use the NTER learning platform. We are also looking to highlight the BITES tool through a module on the NTER platform as well which is really exciting. We continue to engage with stakeholders from K-12, from informal and formal education institutions. Anyone who is interested in getting more engaged, we are happy to hear from you.
I also want to say that if you're using Energy Literacy framework or if it's impacting what you're doing, we would love to hear back from you. To hear what you are doing with learns, as well as what is going on with the development, improvement and curriculum that you have.
If there aren't any questions, then I want to thank everyone for tuning in today. Again, if questions come up later we are happy to field those at our email EnergyLiteracy@ee.doe.gov.
Erin Twamley: Email energyLiteracy@ee.doe.gov. So, we also had question about are the resources here today, free and open to the public?
Michelle Fox: Thank you very much for the person who asked that. Absolutely, we firmly believe in making sure that everything is in the public domain. Everything that you saw today is free and available to you. But yes, everything is free and available to you. And again, I want to thank everyone who spent the past hour with us and also to the team who has put in a phenomenal amount of work in creating the framework and getting it out there. And mostly to the audience and we look forward to further dialogue on this and increasing the energy literacy of the nation. Thank you very much everyone.