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The Science of Solar Power for Middle and High School Students

All web seminar participants use online tools that allow them to mark-up presenter's slides or share desktop applications in addition to engaging in chat with others online and answering poll questions This Web Seminar took place on September 13, 2011 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Presenting was Michael Tinnesand, former Associate Director of the ACS Education Division. Mr. Tinnesand focused his presentation on both the chemistry of solar energy and resources for teaching about solar energy.

The PowerPoint, related resources from the NSTA Learning Center, and web links from the presentation are now contained in the above resource collection. Clicking on the collection link will place it in your Learning Center, My Library, neatly organized under the My Resource Collections tab.

This is the first of five Web Seminars scheduled this fall in cooperation with the American Chemical Society. In this program, Mr. Tinnesand with assistance on the chat from Rachel Pokrandt, talked about energy usage in the U.S. and the possibilities of further development of solar energy. Mr. Tinnesand talked about the different kinds of solar cells and gave a diagram of their chemical composition and explained the mechanism by which they operate. He also talked about a number of online resources for teachers including the Solar Decathlon, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Eighty (80) participants were present at the live Web Seminar in addition to the presenter and NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming. In addition, seven people joined the presentation from locations outside of the United States: Brazil, Canada, Germany, Nicaragua, Portugal, Puerto Rico and Turkey.

Seminar participants received one of the NSTA SciGuides. A certificate of attendance was deposited into participants My PD Record and Certificates area in the NSTA Learning Center for completing the evaluation form at the end of the program.

Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:

  • “The seminar informed me about developments in the use of solar energy technology.”
  • “Lots of chemistry, and projects to be considered - lab and paper research.”
  • “I teach Environmental Science in the summer and one of the largest misconceptions about solar (and I might add nuclear) power is that it’s free. I was glad to hear that the impact of producing, disposing, and maintaining solar energy production was mentioned.”
  • “Although I can't use most of the detailed information with my 5th grade students, there are always a couple of them who want to know more about how solar electricity works. This helped me be able to give them a basic answer.”
  • It's of my interest because I am a Materials Scientist, and as a teacher I facilitate the understanding of using renewable energy as an alternate to fossil fuels.”

Thanks to the participants and the presenter for the learning opportunity, the interactions, and a job well done!

See when other American Chemical Society (ACS) Web Seminars are scheduled

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Underwritten by American Chemical Society