From June 27th to July 1st, twelve middle and high school teachers from the partner schools and schools in surrounding communities participated in Introduction to Sustainability and Green Energy at Bristol Community College in Fall River, Massachusetts. Robert Rak, BCC Professor and Coordinator of Environmental Science and Technology, worked with MITS educators to provide instruction on alternative energy, climate change, the history of energy usage and energy conservation.
Course activities were STEM-focused with varying levels of inquiry and even a little friendly competition. Participants designed and constructed hydro-power plants that could produce electricity, using a hydraulics bench with flowing water. The goal was to determine a design that generated the most electricity. Other laboratory investigations found the teachers comparing the energy content of fuels, powering a small car with either solar energy or a hydrogen fuel cell, identifying prime solar energy project locations using a solar pathfinder, and designing, constructing and testing a model floating wind turbine.
Field trips highlighted wind power and green building techniques. The group toured wind turbines with Sumul Shah, CEO of Solaya Energy, in Fairhaven, MA. They also toured Bristol Community College’s newly constructed net-zero energy Sbrega Health and Science Building with Special Projects Coordinator, Leo Racine, and system designer HVAC engineer, Anthony Petone.