Teaching Students about Hydrogen through STEAM Education
Teaching students the value of renewable energy through STEAM education has never been more important. STEAM education offers a unique perspective and advanced learning opportunities to train the next generation of renewable energy leaders.
1. What is STEAM education?
STEAM education is a multidisciplinary approach to education that combines Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics. While traditional STEM education focuses on science and technology skills, STEAM education expands in this – incorporating arts and creativity into the mix. It therefore encourages students to learn traditional STEM skills and discover inventive, creative and collaborative ways to solve problems.
2. How can STEAM teaching techniques help with renewable energy education?
Renewable energy education isn’t only about studying from a textbook. To solve some of the world’s most pressing climate challenges, future innovators must apply technical knowledge in inventive ways to solve real-world problems. How might a fuel cell be reengineered in a new and inventive way to become more efficient? Or what materials might be added to a solar panel to make it generate more electricity? Addressing these problems requires advanced technical knowledge and the ability to creatively apply this knowledge in inventive ways. STEAM education therefore prepares students for a variety of careers where innovation is needed.
3. Teaching Students about Hydrogen through STEAM Education
One of the best STEAM ways to teach students about renewable energy – and specifically hydrogen – is by allowing them to construct a renewable energy device requiring STEM skills. Students from different backgrounds – such as engineering, arts, or mathematics – all work collaboratively to produce a device that not only solves a renewable energy problem, but that they can collectively take ownership of.
The H2 Grand Prix (H2GP) PRO program provides this sort of education. Students from around the world design, construct and then race a hydrogen-powered RC car, testing their engineering, teamwork and even arts skills in the process.
The first stage of the program focuses on climate change education. Students analyze data from international organizations and come to understand how and why the climate is changing. Students then build a solution to this problem in the form of a hydrogen-powered RC car, before testing this solution in local, national and even international races. The educational program not only teaches students about hydrogen from classroom instruction, but challenges individuals with different skill sets to work together to improve a hydrogen fuel cell system.
Teams don’t construct their H2GP car following a rule book, but are free to go about the process with minimal guidance. They can therefore often ‘hack’ the fuel cell at the system's center, making it more efficient, or even alter the car chassis to make it drive faster. Students with diverse skill sets therefore come together to find innovative solutions to renewable energy problems.