Twenty-five teachers and over 2000 middle level and high school students will be trained and engaged in an interface of real-time data through innovative energy efficiency technologies for monitoring and improving school energy consumption in Reno, NV.
Project ReCharge will engage middle school and high school students as energy detectives in their schools. Using tablet computers to collect data on school energy use, students will learn to track electrical loads in their buildings. A problem-based and inquiry-focused curriculum will engage students in learning about the energy consumption of various appliances as well as school lighting, heating, cooling, and hot water systems. Using this background, students will work with school district staff members and local green technology experts to develop possible solutions for reducing energy use. After their recommendations have been implemented, students will monitor gains in efficiency and cost savings after efficiency retrofits. The project will also provide students with experiences directly related to emerging career opportunities through service-learning programs, internships, and work experience opportunities. Project ReCharge is designed to broaden the participation of underrepresented groups in educational pathways to careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The project will be led by a team consisting of the University of Nevada-Reno's Raggio STEM Research Center, the education non-profit Envirolution, and Washoe County School District.
Project ReCharge will implement and evaluate a research-based energy efficiency curriculum in 8th grade mathematics and science classes, as well as in high school environmental science and career and technical (CTE) courses. All the curriculum modules will align with the current Nevada state standards including Common Core, Nevada CTE standards, and the Next Generation Science Standards currently being piloted in the state. The curriculum will have three tiers: principles of energy (building science and energy efficiency); real-time energy assessment and recommendations; and measurement and verification. Professional development workshops will support teachers in the integration of the new content and technology into their curriculum and classroom practices. The project will serve approximately 30 teachers and 3,000 middle and high schools students, with many students from economically disadvantaged, racially diverse, and rural communities. The project will employ a mixed methods evaluation strategy, using the utilization-focused evaluation approach of Michael Quinn Patton. The project curriculum and resources will be disseminated to additional school districts via multiple pathways that include local and regional workshops; educational, efficiency, and green schools conferences such as the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and Green Schools National Conference; and professional publications.