Investigating Green Energy Technologies in the City: A Youth Based Project
Investigating Green Energy Technologies in the City (GET City) is a youth-based project designed to target underserved middle school students and introduce concepts in energy sustainability and environmental health. Partners include Michigan State University's College of Education and College of Engineering, Lansing Boys and Girls Club, Lansing Board of Water and Light, and Urban Options, a non-profit energy and environmental agency. Participants learn to use IT tools (GIS software, databases, and communication tools) and gain IT workforce skills, research experiences, science knowledge, and inquiry skills. Project components include bi-weekly afterschool sessions (18 weeks), a 3-week summer program with field-based design experiences, community energy events, parental involvement activities, career field trips, and a project website. Youth will also participate in an annual community fair and conduct energy audits. Topics covered include brownouts, environmental health, alternative energy sources, and green energy technologies. Youth will receive ongoing support from energy mentors and gain leadership experience. The project will result in the development of a curriculum that includes IT-based investigations with a focus on core energy concepts. GET City also includes a research component that examines youth identity development in science, engineering, and IT in an attempt to understand how the program supports participation in an IT community of practice. The research, in conjunction with the comprehensive evaluation, will contribute to the field by providing insight into how the program design fosters youth engagement and learning in science, engineering, and IT. Seventy youth will receive 280 contact hours over two years of participation.