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Sustainable Energy the Focus at Duke Energy Summer Institute for Educators

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A select group of educators from around the state participated in an intensive teacher "boot camp" experience last week, hosted by Rose-Hulman's Portal Resource for Indiana Science and Mathematics (PRISM) program. The 2015 Sustainable Energy Experience Institute, funded by Duke Energy, combined academic professional development on campus with site visits to alternative energy facilities.

Amanda King was among the participants who explored solar energy while tackling the task of creating "green" solar cells using photosynthetic blackberry pigment sandwiched between glass electrodes in one portion of the week-long program.

The agriculture teacher from South Putnam High School said that the day's project and visit to the IND Solar Farm at the Indianapolis International Airport would be particularly relevant to her students.

"On farms, [collecting solar energy] is becoming more popular," she said. She hopes to share the lessons she's learned with her classes in the fall to encourage students to consider the integration of sustainable energy practices into agriculture.

Other topics for the program included the U.S. power grid, energy conservation, geothermal energy, wind energy, nuclear energy, and bio-refining. Teachers used the hands-on exercises to develop standards-based, practical, and comprehensive lesson plans for units on sustainable energies.

The 2015 Sustainable Energy Experience Institute is part of Rose-Hulman's commitment to bolstering K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education in Indiana. In June, PRISM hosted its annual three-week summer workshop for Vigo County middle school science teachers. The PRISM program also provides free STEM-focused digital resources to Indiana educators.