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Powering the Future

Pam Dugdale
,
Cronton Campus, Riverside College
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Summary

This paper introduces a card exercise which allows students to make decisions about how best to provide electrical power to their country. Students must make choices between renewable and non-renewable electricity generation to balance supply and demand.

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Context

Audience

This activity is a good fit for high school environmental science students, but can be adapted above or below that audience level.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Understanding of basic principles of energy, and correct use of units.

How the activity is situated in the course

Stand alone exercise.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Develop problem solving skills.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

This activity is highly differentiated and can provide challenges to all participants from high school to graduate engineers.

Other skills goals for this activity

Team work. Engineering decision making.

Description of the activity/assignment

This paper introduces a card exercise which allows students to make decisions about how best to provide electrical power to their country. The work presented emphasizes the use in the classroom of real data to solve real problems, in this case balancing electrical power supply and demand in the UK. With some additional research the task may be easily adapted for use in other countries. Whilst completing the activity, the students are required to make important choices between renewable and non-renewable electricity generation. It is a highly differentiated task ranging from simple addition to quite challenging calculations taking into account the availability and variability of natural resources. This means that it can be used with classes from Year 9 through to Year 13.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Presentation of results to tutor and group.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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