Teaching About Energy in Geoscience Courses
Course Design & Pedagogy | Resource Collections | Special Topics | Workshops & Events | Get Involved
Designing an Effective Energy Course
1. Set goals
Learn more about setting effective course goals in the Course Design Tutorial. You can also explore course goals from others' energy courses using the course information and syllabi available in the course collection.
2. Consider assessment options
Aligning your assessment strategies with the goals of your course is an essential part of the design process. You can learn more about assessment in the section about Assessing Student Learning in the Course Design Tutorial and through our module on Observing and Assessing Student Learning.
3. Select pedagogies and teaching activities
The pedagogic techniques highlighted below can provide inspiration as you consider various approaches that will help you achieve your course goals. The resource collections are organized to provide a rich set of materials to draw from in constructing the specific set of learning experiences you want for your students. Finally, explore the ideas available in special topics.
Selected Pedagogical Approaches
Approaches specifically useful to teaching about energy are:
- Teaching Energy Literacy - A teacher's guide to the US Department of Energy's literacy framework. These pages offer summaries of each energy literacy principle, suggested pedagogic approaches and relevant teaching materials from the CLEAN reviewed collection.
- Teaching Energy with Quantitative Skills: A selection of activities with a quantitative approach for teaching energy concepts.
- Experience-Based Environmental Projects get students personally involved and invested, moving the learning experience from the classroom to their own lives. This module features the Lifestyle Project, which focuses on energy conservation.
- Campus-Based Learning uses the campus environment itself as a teaching tool, featuring the Campus Greenhouse Gas Inventory
A selection of additional pedagogies that lend themselves to the geosciences are found in the Teaching Methods area.
Once you've identified the core learning goals for your course, you can use them to focus your search for relevant materials in our resource collections. The materials listed below reflect the contributions of faculty members from across the country.
- Course descriptions and syllabi including learning goals and supporting information.
- Teaching activities including classroom activities, lab exercises, problem sets, and more. These activities include contextual information, such as learning goals and assessment strategies. Participants of a 2009 workshop also generated a list of ideas for teaching about energy useful for developing new activities.
- Visualizations: Videos, animations and graphics about a wide range of energy types.
- Selected readings: Books and DVD's organized by topic recommended by faculty that are useful for teaching about energy.
- Recommended resources: Useful websites recommended by faculty who teach about energy.
- Japan's Nuclear Emergency: This collection of teaching materials and visualizations focuses on the nuclear emergency that followed the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It includes materials on the March 2011 event as well as background information on nuclear energy and past nuclear disasters that may be useful in incorporating teaching with real events in the classroom.
- Outcomes of the working groups at the 2009 Teaching Energy workshop. These are ideas and works-in-progress for developing new materials for teaching about energy in geoscience courses.
- Ideas for teaching energy inspired by the presentations, activities and interactions at the 2009 Teaching Energy workshop; they are ideas only, rather than finished products. For more outcomes from this workshop, see the workshop program which has links to presentations and discussions.
Workshops and Events
- 2011 Climate Change and Energy Webinar Series: This monthly series of webinars and book clubs delved into emerging topics in climate change and energy. See the series web page for a list of the topics covered along with audio/visual Screen Cast recordings of the webinar presentations and additional teaching materials.
- 2010 Energy Workshop held at the annual GSA meeting in Denver. This one-day workshop was a follow-up to the original energy workshop held in May 2009 at the University of Wyoming. See the workshop program for presentations given at this workshop.
- 2009 Teaching about Energy in Geoscience Courses: Current Research and Pedagogy Workshop: In May 2009 geoscience faculty met at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY for a workshop about teaching energy. The workshop program has links to presentations, posters, and discussion outcomes including plans and preliminary designs for new approaches to teaching energy. Workshop outcomes can be found in the results from working groups.