Focus groups / Pilot-test
/ Project documentation
| Overall exhibit:
- Hands-on multimedia displays with interactive computer-based learning modules. Displays will be physically located at museum.Four learning modules will be integrated within displays and also available
separately for classroom presentation and computer-based use.
- Web site available for feedback, updates, and additional resources
- K-5 students and familiesGeneral public
- K-5 educators (formal & informal)
| Module/display topics:
- Energy is Everywhere!
- What is energy? (Age-appropriate
discussion of energy=work (e.g., motion, heat, stored, food, fuel/power))
- Where does energy come from? (brief explanation of sources, both
traditional & renewable)
- Why do we need energy?
- Living with Energy
- How does our use of energy affect our world?
- Energy technologies
- What can we do?
- Why is energy such a hot topic with adults? Do we need to
conserve energy? (Present an objective explanation & recommend using
facts to make decisions.)
- What can I (my family, my school, my community) do to conserve
- Sun, wind, water, & earth: Renewable energy
- How do we get energy from the wind?...from the
sun (solar)?...from the ground (geothermal)?...from water (hydro)?...from plants
(biomass)?...from fuel cells (hydrogen)?
Watts Up with
Collaboration Between Libraries, Museums, Industry, Research Labs, and School Districts to Bring Math and Science to Elementary StudentsOne of the most critical and challenging environmental issues in the United States today is our energy use
and policy. The use of energy affects every segment of the population, from the
young and old to the rich and poor. Thus the topic of energy presents a common
ground and is a subject to which nearly everyone can relate. From an educational
perspective, it provides an ideal attention-getting mechanism and motivation for
learning, as well as an ideal basis for sound experiential and contextual
teaching and learning of the math and science skills involved in energy issues.
Using the instructional materials created through this project, parents and
educators will be able to capitalize on the contextual connection of a subject
with both current and long-term interest and implications to students. The
modules will incorporate an emphasis on the use of sound science in personal and
public decision-making. The Advanced Technology
Environmental Education Center (ATEEC) of the Eastern Iowa Community College
District (EICCD) partnered with a library and museum in a 2001 IMLS grant to
produce learning modules called Connected by a River around the theme of the environment of the Mississippi
River for middle school students. The latest collaborative project, Watts Up
with Energy?, grows from a desire to build on this
unique alliance and incorporate several new strategies including adding a
family museum that specifically targets science activities to children to
develop museum displays; learning modules written for the elementary
student level; the business and industry community added to the partnership
to incorporate real-world energy experiences; and research labs
added to the partnership to infuse emerging knowledge and technologies into
the learning modules.In this project, ATEEC has partnered with
the Davenport Public Library, the Family Museum of Arts and Science, the
Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency, local school districts, MidAmerican
Energy Company, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop a
working model of collaboration called Watts Up with Energy that will
produce learning modules in the area of energy to bring math and science
into the hands of elementary students through the study of the environment.
The project will be implemented over a 24-month period between October 2004
and September 2006. The following objectives and activities will
the project will include the development of four learning modules in
Web-based, DVD, and/or CD-ROM format using energy as a contextual teaching
source; the creation of a Watts Up with Energy project Web site,
museum exhibits and displays for elementary children that center around the
themes of the energy modules; published articles about the project
collaboration; and conference presentations in the fields of library
science, education, and museums.
- Four learning modules related to energy topics will be developed for
Web-based, DVD or CD-ROM delivery for elementary students. The learning
modules will be developed through a collaboration between elementary school teachers, content experts, research experts, business and industry experts,
and instructional designers. Collaborative partner activities will be developed to support the
learning modules. Museum displays will be developed around the four
learning module themes and will focus on scientific and mathematical
concepts that are possible solutions to real world problems and connect
scientific principles demonstrated by the displays with everyday life of
the student visitor. A library Web site will be developed to provide a
platform for the learning modules to allow project participants to share
and research resources, and to house all project developed information
including the learning modules, related activities, and links to energy
- Project outcomes and research results will be evaluated. Ten
elementary classrooms will pilot-test the learning modules, museum
displays, and library Web site to determine if the project enhanced student
interest and use of museum and library resources, resulted in student
learning as measured against national standards and benchmarks; and
supported the expansion and further development of the role of museums and
libraries in the core educational process.
Part of needs analysis. Three informal focus groups
were interviewed in January and February of 2005:
general public, elementary school teachers, museum-goers (children and
families). Click here for summaries of the group discussions.The purpose of the focus group interviews was to
- Validity of a sustainable energy exhibit & the
proposed topic areas,Age-level of formal energy education,Characteristics of learners,Effective characteristics of existing exhibits,Suggestions for exhibit themes, and
- Suggestions for exhibit materials and activities.
Part of the formative evaluation process. The first
module "Energy is Everywhere," has been developed as a prototype and
will be pilot-tested in 2006 in local fourth grade science
classrooms. The companion display was pilot-tested in the museum, with 30
local students participating in an after-school program. The Watts Up
project team will collect, coordinate, and evaluate feedback. The feedback
will be used to improve the first module/display and to inform the
development of the following three modules. The purposes of the pilot-testing are to determine if the
- Enhances student interest and use of museum and
library resources, Results in student learning as measured against
national standards and benchmarks, and
- Supports the expansion and further development of
the role of museums and libraries in the core educational process.
Click here for the project's overall evaluation plan.
For more information on the Watts Up with Energy project, contact ATEEC.