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N.C. Students Rev Their Green Engines

Go Green Go-KartA group of North Carolina students is literally on the fast track to going green. On May 19, design teams from Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools raced their biofuel-powered vehicles in the annual Go Green Go-Kart Competition hosted by the school system’s career center. The contest drew a whopping 24 teams, up from 11 teams last year.

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Lesson: Winter Insulation

Winter InsulationIn this lesson, students in grades 3 through 8 assume the role of building engineers, testing several materials to determine which would provide the best house insulation. They learn about the role of insulation in preventing heat transfer and discuss the importance of energy conservation in buildings.

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To Go Green, Think White

White RoofsOne way both to save energy and curb climate change is to make surfaces – roofs, even streets – a light color. Solar radiation would be reflected into space rather than absorbed by buildings and pavement. Less air conditioning would be needed. If this were done uniformly, says Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the results could be huge – “the equivalent of reducing the carbon emissions due to all the cars on the road for 11 years.”

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Website: Sustainability Workshop from Autodesk

Autodesk SustainabilityThe Sustainability Workshop video series from Autodesk, an eGFI sponsor, uses animated drawings and real-world examples in short films that explain essential concepts for budding engineers. Some topics include engineering systems, green design, turning an idea into a finished product, and even why modern bicycles look so different from those built 200 years ago.

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Feature: Teaching the Engineer’s Way

Chris Tolbert's Students and their Award-Winning Electric CarAn engineer-turned-teacher, Christopher Tolbert inspires both at-risk and advanced students with challenges that convert gasoline-powered cars to run on electricity. In Tolbert’s high-octane classroom, “every student is held accountable.”

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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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NSF Videos Hail a Green Revolution

What better way to lure visually-centric kids to science than with videos that are brief, fast-paced, and edgy? That seems to be the National Science Foundation’s thinking. “The Science of Speed” made a debut earlier this year. Now, here comes an arresting new series on green technology.

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Web Videos: NSF’s Green Revolution

Green Revolution logoNational Science Foundation’s “Green Revolution” video series features scientists and engineers who are working to develop and improve the use of clean energy sources, new fuels and other energy-related technologies. Each 5-minute segment explores the research carried out by these men and women, as well as some of the basic science behind their work.Supplemental materials for educators is also included.

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Feature: Nuts for Biofuel

Kukui NutsHawaiian students are going nuts over a new biofuel. At Seabury Hall school on the island of Maui, teachers Kathleen Ireland and Martin Emde have enlisted the entire freshman and sophomore classes and 35 seniors in a uniquely Hawaiian energy solution using kukui nuts.

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