Tagged: energy

International Energy Debate on Elluminate






These are ten of the twelve Voicethreads produced by students from five schools across three countries during the International Energy Challenge. Although we have had a few difficulties, including that we are never all at school at the same time, students have persisted to produce some excellent Voicethreads explaining the advantages of twelve different energy sources. On Thursday, we are going to run a town meeting on Elluminate, where representatives of each group defend their energy choice against other group reps.  As many of the participants will be using Elluminate for the first time, please read the following code of conduct carefully:

  1. Greet people with an appropriate introduction, showing respect at all times.
  2. Always use full English ie no IM or txt language. This is a professional site and translators cannot translate IM.
  3. Logon with an appropriate username that does not reveal your full identity. Keep that user name for the entire session (eg. Britt from Hawkesdale)
  4. No spamming eg zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  5. Use appropriate language at all times – no swearing, slang, words of dubious nature or double meanings.
  6. No cyberbullying or put-downs etc
  7. Be sensitive to people from other cultures who may be present.
  8. Never reveal any personal information eg phone numbers, addressess etc
  9. Avoid using CAPS, as it means you are shouting!
  10. Share and use the whiteboard responsibly – don’t scribble or block out other people’s work.
  11. If in doubt, just don’t do it!

As Elluminate has a whiteboard available, I would like each team leader to send a Powerpoint slide with an image and title of their energy source and the names of the students in their group to my gmail address. Please do this ASAP, at least 24 hours before the session. I will then send you an email link to the session. To check that you can access Elluminate and have all the correct software, go to:


You can access the session from 30 minutes prior to the session starting. Log in with your first name and school at the following link:


P.S. This session was recorded at:


Wind Energy – Willatook Wind Farm Open Day


Image Source

This Thursday, 11th November, the company developing the Willatook Wind Farm, “Wind Prospect” will be holding a public exhibition and open day at the Hawkesdale Hall, between 2.00pm and 8.00pm. This will be a great opportunity for Luke and Dylan to find out more about their International Energy Project and answer the qurestions on the student Wind Energy Wiki. I suggest you write down a list of the questions you would like to ask and take a microphone and voice recorder to record an interview with representatives from Wind Prospect.

Your questions should help you to answer the following: How is the energy produced from the source?
What technologies are used in the production of the energy?
Where is the energy produced?
What are the advantages for your energy source in the following categories: Availability, economically, environmentally, ethically, safety, and socially? (These should reflect the perspective of each country.)

MelissaToiflOn Friday, we will have Melissa Toifl,  use Elluminate to present a slideshow about Biomass Energy – specifically, using algae as fuel. Melissa is our Scientist in Schools mentor and works with the CSIRO. I am hoping that Michelle Iro, our student teacher will facilitate this session. It will be Sean and Harvey who have the responsibility of asking questions to assist with their Biomass Project.

If you know of any other energy experts who could assist with this project, please leave a comment below. The International Energy Challenge involves Year 6, 7 and 8 students from five schools in three countries collaborating to produce a Voicethread to ‘sell’ their type of energy source. In early December, representatives of each group will debate the merits of each energy type on Elluminate.

Year 8 Energy Project


Welcome back to Term4 and the start of Spring! This term we will be working with students in Tasmania, New York and Lima on our Energy projects. As revision of some of the work we did last term, please complete this short quiz at BBC Bitesize KS3: Science: Energy transfer and Storage. Take a screen shot of the test result and email to me at my gmail address.  Then go to the Energy Challenge Wiki and start your research. Your goal is to work in a team to produce a 20 minute presentation to teach other students about a specific type of renewable or non-renewable energy resource.

Over the holidays we had a visit from AGL, who replaced all our incandescent globes with energy-efficient globes. For each 10 globes replaced, 6 renewable energy certificates are issued, which is equivalent to 6 tonnes of  carbon dioxide. These certificates are part of the Australian Governments Renewable Energy Target. We also recieved information about the Willatook Wind Farm proposed by Wind Prospect, which joins the Macarthur and Penshurst Wind Farms as significant, renewable energy projects in our region. Hotrocks Ltd have also been doing geothermal investigation in the local area.

At present, most of Victoria’s electrcity is produced from brown coal in the LaTrobe Valley. Much of this power is used in manufacturing, especially by Portland’s Alcoa Aluminium smelter. Find out how much of Victoria’s power is used by Portland Aluminium. Why do you think the Moyne Shire has become an area of interest for wind and geothermal energy and not hydroelectric and solar energy? Please post your answers in the comment section below.

As part of our Energy studies we will be looking at Geothermal Energy, which involves some geology. Go to this Google Doc “The Plates of the Earth”, save the document onto your netbook and complete the tasks and questions. Then email your completed work to me at my gmail address.

Dark and stormy night

making_a_torchYear 8 students have just begun a unit of work on electricity, by making a circuit and a switch from simple materials, such as aluminium foil, drawing pins and paper clips. Their next task is to make a torch that can be operated with one hand. Imagine you are driving with Dad in the car on a dark and stormy night. The car breaks down and Dad has to walk to the nearest house, about an hour away. You scratch through the glove-box and behind the car seat and this is what you find:

  • 2 batteries
  • cardboard tube
  • aluminium foil
  • paper clips
  • drawing pins
  • sticky tape
  • copper wires
  • a globe from the overhead light

Can you make a torch, with a switch, that can be turned on and off with one hand? Your torch will be judged on it’s reliability, ease of operation, brightness of beam and sturdiness of the connections.

Two International Science Projects


The International Paper Airplane Challenge

To finish off term 3, year 6/7 students will be learning about the scientific method, while they research, make and fly paper planes. Students from three  other schools, in Philadelphia, New York and Tasmania, will be doing the same experiments and we will compare our results. Ms Catherine Laguna from Philadelphia, Dr Gerald Ardito, from PVC Middle School (NY) and Mr Deon Scanlon from St Aloysius Catholic College (Tas.) all teach 12-13 year old students science.

Students decide what defines the “best” paper plane for them – is it the one that flies the furtherest, most accurately, highest in the air or looks the best? They research different styles of planes and develop a hypothesis – a statement about a measurable factor of the plane (length, width, angle of wings, mass etc) that impacts on the best performance. They then write up the procedure accurately, so the experiment can be repeated anywhere, anytime, with the same results. Students choose three planes to trial and collect the data to graph and compare with international students.  Students will use The International Paper Airplane Challenge wiki to document their progress and post their videos and Google Docs to compare their results.

International Energy Challenge

This project, for year 6/7 and 8 students, will involve Terri Johnson (Bode Middle School, St, Joseph, Missouri) and Kristy Lathrop (Messa Middle School, Castle Rock, Colorado) and Gerardo Lazaro (Lima, Peru)  in a Siemens – STEM – Institute facilitated collaboration. We will use the Energy Challenge wiki, Google docs, Skype and other tools to allow communication with students across the Pacific Ocean.

Terri and Kristy have already done some great brainstorming and planning during their school holidays, with the ideal aim of the collaboration being that students will:

  • see different viewpoints
  • be able to suspend judgment
  • be able to make informed decisions
  • be risk takers
  • understand that “energy cannot be created or destroyed…” and that
  • there are costs/benefits to all technology decisions