# T3-B: College-Level Multi-Step Energy Conversion Efficiency Experiments Should Be Decomposed for High School Deployment

Bill France B

5-3-2018 3:45 PM

## Description

Energy Engineering Laboratory Module (EELM™) pedagogy posits that energy is a topic ubiquitous, germane, and applicable to all Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Therefore, energy-focused hands-on laboratory experiences can be developed for successful seamless insertion into any STEM course. But is this hypothesis true?

A teaching laboratory experiment is described that demonstrates multiple energy conversions with capability to measure output at each step. This experiment was intended for use in a college-level introductory thermodynamics course, but it was implemented without modification in an Advanced Placement (AP) Physics 2 high school class to determine viability for a secondary education audience. This instance represents the first time a teaching lab apparatus employing the EELM™ design approach was deployed in a high school.

The experiment harnesses chemical energy contained within a candle, which is converted to thermal energy via combustion. The candle flame heats the hot side of a thermoelectric (TE) generator whose cold side is simultaneously cooled via ice water reservoir. The TE Generator is a solid-state heat engine converting thermal energy to electrical energy, which powers a DC motor. The motor lifts a small mass from the ground imparting potential energy. The experiment’s goal is calculation of efficiency for each energy conversion step as well as the overall efficiency of the system.

The high school teacher conducting the course observed that students drew upon their prior knowledge (rotational motion, conservation of energy, electricity, and thermodynamics) to develop an understanding, discuss data collection and analysis approaches, and perform an engaging handson experiment. The analysis, however, required instructor guidance; both to process the data and to set up quantitative solutions. Moreover, from introduction to completion, the experiment consumed nearly four full 48-minute class sessions – too long for a practical and viable high school lab experiment. When adapting college-level engineering experiments for high school, it is recommended that multi-step, multi-component activities be decomposed into independent standalone constituent pieces. These shorter freestanding components should be designed to fit both the time limitations and the student cognitive load capacity of high school.

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Mar 5th, 3:45 PM

T3-B: College-Level Multi-Step Energy Conversion Efficiency Experiments Should Be Decomposed for High School Deployment

Bill France B

Energy Engineering Laboratory Module (EELM™) pedagogy posits that energy is a topic ubiquitous, germane, and applicable to all Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Therefore, energy-focused hands-on laboratory experiences can be developed for successful seamless insertion into any STEM course. But is this hypothesis true?

A teaching laboratory experiment is described that demonstrates multiple energy conversions with capability to measure output at each step. This experiment was intended for use in a college-level introductory thermodynamics course, but it was implemented without modification in an Advanced Placement (AP) Physics 2 high school class to determine viability for a secondary education audience. This instance represents the first time a teaching lab apparatus employing the EELM™ design approach was deployed in a high school.

The experiment harnesses chemical energy contained within a candle, which is converted to thermal energy via combustion. The candle flame heats the hot side of a thermoelectric (TE) generator whose cold side is simultaneously cooled via ice water reservoir. The TE Generator is a solid-state heat engine converting thermal energy to electrical energy, which powers a DC motor. The motor lifts a small mass from the ground imparting potential energy. The experiment’s goal is calculation of efficiency for each energy conversion step as well as the overall efficiency of the system.

The high school teacher conducting the course observed that students drew upon their prior knowledge (rotational motion, conservation of energy, electricity, and thermodynamics) to develop an understanding, discuss data collection and analysis approaches, and perform an engaging handson experiment. The analysis, however, required instructor guidance; both to process the data and to set up quantitative solutions. Moreover, from introduction to completion, the experiment consumed nearly four full 48-minute class sessions – too long for a practical and viable high school lab experiment. When adapting college-level engineering experiments for high school, it is recommended that multi-step, multi-component activities be decomposed into independent standalone constituent pieces. These shorter freestanding components should be designed to fit both the time limitations and the student cognitive load capacity of high school.