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Outreach: NFPA Fluid Power Challenge

Challenge DayThe NFPA Fluid Power Challenge is a competition that challenges eighth grade students to solve an engineering problem using fluid power. They work in teams to design and build a fluid power mechanism, and then compete against other teams in a timed competition.

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Event: X-Prize Automotive Prize. Sept. 16, 2010

xprize car competitionNational Geographic airs a Sept. 16, 2010 TV special on competitors who undertook the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE challenge to create the world’s most fuel efficient car. The Geographic episode coincides with public award ceremony in Washington, DC, for the winners of $10 million contest.

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Competitions: Alt Energy Model Car Race. Florida

Students make hydrogen before the race.The Florida Solar Energy Center sponsors two competitions to design, build and race alternative energy model cars: The Hydrogen Sprint for Florida students in grades 9 – 12; and the Junior Solar Sprint (JSS) for Florida students in grades 6-8. The small model cars powered solar or hydrogen energy are built as team efforts guided by teachers.

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Activity: Ethanol Fermentation

Ethanol MoleculeWhat kinds of foods are easiest to ferment for fuel? Ethanol is made from a variety of plant substances – corn, sugar cane, even some kinds of wood. In this activity, students test different substances to see what they can learn about fermentation.

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Website: KidsH2 to Teach Fuel Cell Tech

kidH2logo2The KidsH2 Website sells inexpensivekits and offers supporting material for students, teachers, and parents seeking to know more about fuel cell technology and its applications. Materials include kits focused on hydrogen, hydropower, and wind energy, accompanying lesson plans, workshops, and an online community.

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Resource: National Energy Lab Educational Programs

NETL StaffThe National Energy Technology Laboratory maintains a list of educational resources and opportunities for all levels of education. The goal of NETL’s education programs is to enhance interest in math and science and to provide resources and instructional materials. NETL provides research participation, workshops, career days, science fairs, instructional materials, in-house tour information, community outreach programs, and events.

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Website: Energy for Educators

Operated by the Idaho National Laboratory, the Energy for Educators Website offers excellent lessons on energy topics for all grade levels, including on wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, nuclear, and biomass energy sources.

Teachers will also find news about the Energy workshops, INL wind resources, real-time wind data, “energy myths,” and a write-in “ask a scientist” page.

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Curriculum: Solar, Alternative Energy


The Florida Solar Energy Center, a research arm of the University of Central Florida, has developed downloadable sets of curriculum materials for K-12 teachers and schools on alternative energy sources, including solar, photovoltaics, hydrogen, and fuel cells. The Website lists descriptions of these curriculum materials, links to web sites, and information on each unit. Care has been taken to insure that the proper state standards that apply have been maintained.

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