5 Mistakes Teachers Make Teaching Renewable Energy Technology

We'll take you through all you need to know about the 5 most common mistakes teachers make when teaching students about renewable energy technology.

Teachers these days are under increased pressure from school boards and administrators to achieve better results. Often science classes are where students disengage, become distracted and cause disruption. But while science can be hard to teach, the future economy needs lots of highly skilled technicians trained in renewable energy. We'll take you through 5 mistakes to avoid when teaching kids about renewable energy in science classes.


5 Mistakes Teachers make

1. Lecturing too much 

While lecturing has a place in every classroom, over-relying on this teaching style can put kids to sleep. This is because lecturing is fundamentally a teacher-centred approach – they don't bring students into the conversation by asking questions, stimulating ideas or sharing personal experiences. Students can easily dose off and disengage. Fortunately, renewable energy technologies like hydrogen fuel cells, battery power and wind power lend themselves to practical applications.

This means teachers can easily teach students about these technologies without resorting to traditional lectures. Instead of speaking, teachers can engage students by demonstrating how the technology works in real life.


2. Using a STEM instead of STEAM approach  

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Students looking to enter a variety of careers – such as software engineering, accountancy, or biochemistry – benefit from solid science and engineering training. But what about the kids who are more into the creative arts and humanities?

Using a STEAM approach to teach classes about renewable energy technologies, teachers can engage students who aren't usually interested in science. This approach integrates science and engineering with the arts, fostering innovation, teamwork and critical thinking while challenging students to develop imaginative and creative solutions to real-world problems.  

Designing and building a hydrogen-powered 1:10 scale car, for example, employs students' science and technology skills while allowing more creative students to get involved in designing and painting the car body. STEAM education is therefore vital in making science accessible and exciting for all, and is an excellent way to foster a variety of skills in different types of students.

3. Using too much theory 

Teaching kids about renewable energy technology can mean lots of theory. While it's essential to teach the fundamentals of this theory – overdoing this can mean students disengage and become distracted. One way to overcome this is to introduce hands-on learning equipment to the classroom. This exciting and fun equipment means students learn about the theory behind renewable energy and can also see how this science is applied in the real world.

One of the most common forms this equipment takes is STEM Kits. These kits introduce students to renewable energy by allowing them to see how it can be applied in real life – constructing, for example, model fuel cell electric cars powered by hydrogen

4. Failing to adapt to different learning styles

Every student has a different learning style. While some kids prefer visual learning (learning from seeing things like pictures, diagrams, demonstrations or film) others prefer auditory, kinaesthetic, or reading and writing-type learning. Getting students to pay attention means mixing up learning material in order to accommodate a wide range of learning styles.

For renewable energy education, this could mean not only using visual diagrams depicting how a fuel cell works or verbally explaining this, but integrating a real-life fuel cell in classroom instruction. This avoids the common mistake of catering only for one type of student.

5. Not incorporating real-world applications 

Key to understanding renewable energy technology is not only a firm grounding of the theory, but seeing how this technology can be used to solve real-world problems. For hydrogen fuel cells, this means demonstrating how they can be used to power a car or lightbulb, for example. Manufacturers these days produce so-called HydroCars and ScienceKits that incorporate renewable energy technology in real-world applications like 1:20 scale fuel cell electric cars powered by hydrogen. School children find that this equipment makes learning about renewable energy fun and exciting while teachers report increased classroom engagement.  

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