Letter from Camp: Having a FLATE Time

Kids aren’t the only ones having fun at summer camp this year. Thanks to the generosity of Bluegrass Educational Technologies, LLC, FLATE’s 4th annual Summer Camp for teachers was green! Bluegrass supplied GREENtech renewable energy kits and expert instruction for an entire day of hands on fun, and one lucky teacher went home with a kit for her classroom. These turnkey Kits are exceptional in that they are ready to use as soon as they are unpacked. Within minutes, teachers were immersed in the world of clean, renewable alternative energy: water, wind and sun.

A brief sample of the energy efficiency and renewable energy topics included: renewable
energy monitoring (REM) exercises, powering motors with solar panels, assembling and testing wind turbines, hydro fuel cells, and battery powered water electrolysis. Teachers were busy in teams of two building, testing, and optimizing performance of solar panels, windmills, and hydro cars.  Teachers commented throughout the day that it was very useful to be able to touch the materials and build for themselves the same items that students using the Kit would be learning about, “being able to use the GREENtech Kit was very valuable [since] I was able to see the extension of activities.”  STEM teachers (and those who wanted to integrate STEM into mainstream curriculum) ranged from elementary to high school levels, but all (100%) of teachers attending the camp agreed that the GREENtech Kit was a highlight for this year’s camp and that they learned something new in the area of green technologies that they would be able to use in the classroom.

Hands on activities are unbeatable as follow up to theory, and the GREENtech Kit features
both. The GREENtech Kit  can be used as standalone modules or as a complete course.  As they use the Kit and perform the activities, students will perform a variety of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and electricity exercises. As they learn the concepts behind each new theory, students have the ability to experience the theory first-hand through hands-on exercises through the Kit contents.  The instructor’s guide comes complete with powerpoint presentations, knowledge and skill objectives with thought questions, reproducible worksheets, tips, illustrations, tables, “test” questions, answer keys, and much more.  The Kit is versatile too, and includes the Renewable Fuels DVD which can be segmented and shown with each unit.  After completing all units contained in the GREENtech Kit, the intention is that students will have an entry level knowledge working with basic electrical circuits, solar energy products, wind energy equipment, and fuel cells. The Kit helps prepare students to start thinking about green jobs as well as providing new skills, and the opportunity to practice those skills in a hands-on, high tech, fun and engaging learning environment.

Teachers from Hillsborough, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole counties, Spain and Ipswich, England
enjoyed the GREENtech Kit during FLATE’s unique “Summer Camp Style” professional development workshop developed by FLATE’s associate director, Dr. Marie Boyette: “Remember how much fun you had at camp as a kid? Our hands-on, high interactivity activities bring that back for teachers, and provide fun that is ready to travel back to the classroom to hook kids on STEM.” According to surveys of the camp, the contacts, networking, and interactivity were reported to be of high importance to participants. “Campers” also enjoyed one of FLATE’s complete lessons in Metrology taught by Danielly Orozco-Cole, FLATE’s curriculum coordinator, packed their folders full of resources from FLATE’s wiki www.flate.pbwiki.com and finished off the camp with a lively competition using robot arms made from “found” objects.

To learn more about FLATE’s Summer Camp for Teachers, or the Bluegrass GREENtech Renewable Energy Kit, contact Dr. Marie Boyette at mboyette3@hccfl.edu or 813.259.6579.