Ever wonder what life would be like if we didn’t need electricity? If we used up all of earths resources, how could life remain sustainable? If young students today can utilize STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education, we will be able to harness the sun, wind and soil to fuel our everyday lives.
During the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering of Technology’s (CEET) Green Energy Camp, middle school students researched the answers to these pondering questions by innovative thinking and fun activities incorporating STEM.
The summer camp, held July 7 through July 12, was the college’s first self-funded camp including 13 students participating from California, Indiana and around Illinois.
Not only did students engage in science, physics and mathematics subjects, they gained knowledge of 21st century skills, which are still relevant in today’s industry. Also, students learned about the importance communication, presentation, creative problem solving and interdisciplinary skills.
Throughout the duration of the camp, students are directly involved with wind energy and power devices as they design wind turbines, test blades, materials and different sizes.
CEET values hands-on experience as an essential part of learning through real-life application. The students apply what they learn at the camp and research states across the country on their differing energy needs to learn about real-life facts and figures pertaining to energy consumption.
Students also took field trips exploring wind farm technology, where they saw the inside functions of turbine blades and the control room where a greater understanding about how solar energy is obtained.
Additionally, students visited the home of Rich Barn, an NIU retiree, whose house runs entirely runs on solar energy. Barn explained the worth of solar energy resources and energy savings.