Indiana STEM Teachers Learn Sustainable Energy Lessons at Summer Boot Camps

Friday, July 15, 2022
A group of teachers work on an activity outdoors at Rose-Hulman's PRISM program.

Teachers from throughout the state who concentrate in STEM areas for grades 4-12 participated in a variety of instructional classes, hands-on projects, and field trips organized by Rose-Hulman’s PRISM program.

Eighteen science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers across Indiana learned ways to incorporate lessons about sustainable energy into their classrooms through intensive weeklong “boot camp” experiences that took place this summer at Rose-Hulman.

Teachers in grades 4-12 who use sustainable and alternative energies in their curriculum participating in free workshops on campus July 10-15 and June 26-July 1, provided through Rose-Hulman’s Portal Resource for Indiana Science and Mathematics (PRISM) program. These boot camps were supported by the Duke Energy Foundation and Rose-Hulman alumni Becky and Frank Levinson.

Through classroom sessions, teachers learned about energy conservation practices, solar and wind energy, hydropower, lighting systems, the U.S. power grid, and coal and natural gas combined-cycle power plants – and how they can integrate these principles into their classroom curriculums. Rose-Hulman professors providing instruction were Andy Mech, PhD, emeriti professor of mechanical engineering; Rebecca Bercich, PhD, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; and Robert Bunch, PhD, retired professor of physics and optical engineering. A guest speaker was Emily Kahren of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, an organization that manages the generation and transmission of high-voltage electricity. 

Teachers also worked together on hands-on projects that could help students appreciate sustainable energy principles through building miniature windmill energy generators and solar- and fuel cell-powered cars. They visited the following alternative energy providers throughout Indiana: Duke Energy’s power plant in Cayuga; Northern Indiana Public Service Company’s power plant near West Terre Haute; Hoosier Energy Power Generating Station near Merom, Indiana; a wind farm in Benton County; and Wayne Township and North Putnam Community Schools, which both utilize solar energy at district schools. 

Upon completion, teachers received a kit of materials for laboratory activities and earned 45 professional growth points toward their Indiana teacher’s license renewal.

Since late 2002, the PRISM program has provided interactive digital learning tools and professional development workshops for Indiana teachers in STEM areas. Learn more at the PRISM website.

Teachers participating in the Sustainable Energy Boot Camps included:

Ashley Anderson, Social Studies/Technology Teacher, Lawrenceburg High School, Lawrenceburg

Lori Baker, Science Teacher, Danville Community Middle School, Danville

Miranda Barber, Social Studies/Character Education Teacher, Pierce Middle School, Merrillville

Billie Carlton, Science Teacher, Danville Middle School, Danville

Abigail Clark, Agriculture Teacher, Decatur Central High School, Indianapolis

Joshua Gill, 6th Grade Science Teacher, Test Intermediate School, Richmond

Michael Glotzbach, Science Teacher, Fuqua Elementary School, Terre Haute

Ryan Grossman, Math & Science Teacher, Indiana Digital Learning School, Evansville

Melissa Hutchinson, Biology Teacher, Shortridge High School, Indianapolis

Eric Jantzen, Natural Resources-Science Teacher, Elkhart High School, Elkhart

Harlee Koch, Science/Biology Teacher, New Castle Middle/High School, New Castle

Mary Koster, Chemistry/Biology Teacher, Bishop Noll Institute, Hammond

Phillip Kyle Roberts, Chemistry/Life & Earth Sciences Teacher, Whiteland Community High School, Whiteland

Neil Rullman, STEM Teacher, Lawrenceburg High School, Lawrenceburg

Sheridan Smith, Physics/Chemistry Teacher, West Side Leadership Academy, Gary

Isaac Turner, Life Sciences Teacher, Terre Haute North High School, Terre Haute

Natalie Webb, Science Teacher, Westlane Middle School, Indianapolis

Michelle Woodall, Science/Math Teacher, Danville Community Middle School, Danville