Energy Center at N.C. A&T to Offer K-12 Teachers Workshops

The Center for Energy Research and Technology (CERT) at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University will begin its annual energy education series workshop for K-12 teachers. CERT will offer three, 2-day workshops throughout the summer to meet varied summer schedules. 

Teachers from the Guilford County School system and surrounding areas will have the opportunity to receive in depth instruction on innovative, fun and easy energy concepts they can in response teach to their students. Teachers will have three opportunities to participate, June 21-22, July 17-18 or Aug. 7-8. 

“We develop modules around energy specific topics or concepts that directly tie-in to GCS curriculum,” said Vicki Foust, workshop coordinator and CERT research associate. “Our modules deal with heat transfer, energy conversion, energy generation and more. These topics may not be a teacher’s area of expertise, so these workshops allow them the opportunity to gain professional experience and delve into those areas.” 

New to the series this year, the workshops will introduce Learning Blade STEM, a game-based software that teaches science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts and introduces STEM careers to students. Teachers who elect to utilize the software will be able to access the user-friendly software online and monitor student participation and performance. 

“The new interactive software introduces STEM to students in a fun way. It sends them on missions. While on each mission they are exploring STEM concepts,” said Foust. “For example, one mission may require students to rescue an injured dolphin and construct a new fin. In so doing, the students learn physics, simple tools, math, torque, social studies and English skills. At least three-fourths of one workshop day will be devoted to teaching Blade.” 

Not only will teachers gain insightful new energy concepts for their students, but they will also earn continuing education credits, and have access to rent energy kits for student activities. 

“We are trying to expand and improve outreach in more impactful ways. We are incorporating new products like Learning Blade and we’re trying to expand our education modules, which really gives teachers the opportunity to teach with a lot less upfront preparation and makes it easier to adopt these training methods,” said Dr. Greg Monty, director of CERT. “We want teachers to take advantage of our knowledge and apply it directly to their students.” 

The center regularly engages with teachers and students in multiple capacities including its annual energy day, which draws over 2,000 students to campus to learn various energy concepts as well as facilitation of the Energy-Wise program for energy consumption reduction throughout local schools. 

The workshops will be in room 410 of the Fort IRC Building on the campus of North Carolina A&T. Teachers must register for the workshop online.      

CERT is an interdisciplinary energy research center, created to foster collaborative research and development of new energy-related technologies. It focuses on basic and applied research, outreach and extension activities, and education related to: renewable energy; energy efficiency; alternative fuels and vehicle technologies; sustainable green buildings; and the environment. The center is, in part, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.