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As you can see I really can’t figure out what the title of this post should be.  I’ll start by saying that the UNC Exploring the Future of Electricity workshop was great. I came away with a ton of information on alternative energy sources, nuclear power and other topics. The second day was filled with a talk on Biomimicry and hands on activities. The Biomimicry was very interesting, using nature scientists and inventors have developed different technologies that “create more sustainable and healthier human technologies and designs”(taken from the Biomimicry Institute). We then completed an activity called “Function Junction”. A hands on activity “that gives young students practice in identifying function in the biological world and relating it to human design challenges”(taken from lesson).  We explored the UNC Botanical Gardens for ideas and discussed them at the end of the activity. The lesson can be found at this link Function Junction.  After a brief break we did hands-on wind and solar energy activities. The activities included kits we could use in the classroom; Hydrogen Fuel Cell, Dye-sensitized Solar Cells, wind turbines, and solar houses. Every one of the activities could be used in class with no problem, however when is the key question. Overall the workshop was awesome and I came away with more information for hands on materials.

On another note my “crazy” colleague, and I  put that in quotes  because I know she is going read this! Has finished a three week modeling course. The course introduced the modeling teaching strategy. Hopefully we will be introducing this teaching technique into our Physics class this year. Further blogs and comments will be coming in the future about how this worked in class. I think this upcoming school year is going to be one of testing and changing the different teaching techniques.

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Hydrogen fuel cell kit

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Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

UNC Exploring the Future of Electricity

Yes I know, 3 days until NASA. Well during that time I decided to attend the workshop given by the UNC Institute for the Environment. It is being held at the North Carolina Botanical Garden which is a green facility that has been awarded the Platinum LEED certification, something they are very proud of. The day started with a brief summary of the electricity fundamentals given by David McNelis. He covered a large amount of material that focused on the efficiency of the production of electricity. Discussion included coal and nuclear power two forms of production that produce our electricity in North Carolina. After his discussion we completed some activities that can be used in the classroom, they are posted on the UNC Institute of the Environment website. One of the interesting websites given as a resource for energy production was the EPA’s Power Profiler.

The day continued with a tour of the UNC Co-generation coal plant and then a talk about Biomass as an alternative source for producing electricity. This topic is still be debated on by many. It seems Europe already has started using this type of fuel for producing electricity. Dennis Hazel from NC State did an awesome job in explaining what Biomass was and how it was produced. There are more questions than answers when it comes to using Biomass instead of coal.

The day was very interesting and I came away with information that I can use right away in the classroom. Tomorrow is another day, and I will be blogging about that. I hope to have some pictures of the Gardens.

Good Night