Sustainable Energy Systems
Topics: electricity sources and generation methods, energy policy, green building, life cycle analysis, greenwashing, social/environmental justice, economics, entrepreneurship, investing, technology
Audience: grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, higher ed, adult ed
Disciplines: economics, government, global/regional studies, and multiple STEM disciplines: physical science, biology, earth science, environmental science, design, technology, engineering
Career Connections: industrial and mechanical engineering, design, architecture, entrepreneurship, finance, economics, business, construction and building trades
News. Our Curriculum and Resource Center (CRC) features a new unit on energy, electricity, and the carbon footprint. Visit the CRC to download samples.
We're pleased to announce a partnership with the Clean Energy Coalition to develop a weatherization course for contractors. The course is part of a federal grant to Washtenaw County to improve energy efficiency in low- and moderate income homes. Creative Change's expertise in sustainability-based instructional design combined with CEC's experience in weatherization and energy issues will result in a dynamic, hands-on course.
Looking for interdisciplinary educational materials to enhance your green building or retrofit projects? Our energy program will add a high-quality educational dimension to facilities projects at K12 schools, universities, or governmental agencies. Contact us to learn more
Level I programs introduce new ways of reframing content and instruction through a lens of sustainable energy systems. Participants envision and define possibilities for change as they experience approaches they can replicate in their own classes. A typical package includes:
Example: An educational institution is seeking ways to use renewable energy as a context to make units more relevant, rigorous, and project-based. In a two-day workshop, Creative Change leads educators through hands-on activities on topics such as forms and types of energy, renewable energy systems, and carbon footprinting. During the sessions, educators review age-specific curricula and resources, and evaluate ways projects such as a home energy audit can be integrated into existing instruction to meet math, science, and other goals. After collecting data on faculty needs and interests, Creative Change meets with the leadership team to develop a plan for moving ahead.
Our Plan the Change programs provide 3-6 months of strategic planning to help institutions define goals, strategies, evaluation, and a timeline. The work is guided by our Instruction Change framework, a needs assessment tool that examines institutional culture, curriculum, professional development, and other factors affecting the successful integration of sustainability.
Example: After collecting data on faculty impressions and interests, Creative Change meets with the leadership team to develop a plan for integrating sustainability into the curriculum in ways that support existing initiatives.
Level III programs provide professional development, curriculum licensing and ongoing support focused on revising curriculum, courses and programs. Spread over a year or more, a typical package includes:
Example: After completing Levels I and II, an same institution works with Creative Change to develop a year-long plan focused on integrating a broad range of energy topics into existing core units. After a planning phase, the initiative unfolds over a calendar year in three steps: A) on-site Professional Development, B) instructional redesign, and C) evaluation and Communication.
Workshops begin by immersing teachers in content knowledge and research-based pedagogical strategies. To model effective approaches, the sessions engage staff in hands-on activities they can replicate with their students, followed by thoughtful analysis and discussion. Activities include:
Through these activities, educators define how the content and approaches can improve learning at their grade level. The staff then evaluates their existing units or courses and set goals for reshaping them. The science and civics teachers collaborate on a unit exploring renewable energy options and policies affecting them. The geography teacher supports this by examining global biomes and their role in carbon sequestration. All efforts integrate social equity by exploring connections among democracy and the impacts of climate change. The staff works together to generate authentic ways students can apply their learning, such as a school-wide energy audit, or a student-led initiative focused on helping local residents conserve energy.
The PD now shifts to the on-the-ground work of redesigning the units based on the goals set. Creative Change’s approach to instructional design provides educators with a process and framework for planning units that start with students’ experiences, build an integrated knowledge base, and culminate in meaningful civic engagement. In-depth instructional design tools and lessons from the Curriculum and Resource Center support teachers as they
As faculty continue their work in a learning community, Creative Change provides on-going support with instructional design, implementation and evaluation through phone, email, Webinars, and in-person meetings. For example, Creative Change helps a teacher team connect with local energy stakeholders, and develops specialized assessment tools to ensure the project meets achievement goals.
By the end of the year, the educators’ efforts have resulted in a collection of instructional modules that demonstrate best practices in content and pedagogy. The faculty has evaluated the impacts of its work and wants to replicate the approaches in other areas of the curriculum. To support this, Creative Change compiles pictures, reports, presentations and other documentation in order to communicate results to the district- or organizational leadership team and provide models for replication. Based on the success of the work, the collaboration with Creative Change grows to other departments or schools through a Level III program.
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Level IV programs enable schools and districts to build internal capacity and institutionalize successful approaches. Clients gain training, resources and strategic planning assistance focused on preparing an internal team to lead, evaluate, and sustain instructional change. These packages, spread over two or more years, typically include