Design Your Own Underwater ROV - International Technology and ...

Design Your Own Underwater ROV - International Technology and ...

Portable inspiration • teaching students about clean fuels and transportation technologies



The Voice of Technology Education


April 2009

Volume 68 • Number 7

Design Your Own Underwater ROV

Also: 2009 Directory of ITEA Institutional and Museum Members

With the growing need for skilled manufacturing professionals, there is a nationwide push to involve more

women and minorities, such as student Ashley Kolarek.

I choose Mastercam because:

“I prefer to teach Mastercam over any other CAM software

because students who know how to use Mastercam get jobs!

Mastercam is the most commonly used software in Northern

Colorado. From small shops to major manufacturers, when

employers call me seeking to hire a student, they want applicants

who know how to work in Mastercam.”

– Instructor Debra Mann, Front Range Community College, Fort Collins, Colorado

Mastercam is the software Debra’s students need to succeed in the classroom and in the job market. With industry-proven

technology and unparalleled customer support, it is clear why Mastercam is the most widely-used CAD/CAM software in

both industry and education for well over a decade.

Debra Mann is a member of the Mastercam Certification Committee. She and her Mastercam class were featured in the

September 2008 issue of American Machinist. To read about Debra’s

CAD/CAM classes, visit or contact our

Educational Division toll free at (800) ASK-MCAM.



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APRIL • VOL. 68 • NO. 7


Design Your Own Underwater Remotely

Operated Vehicle (ROV)

An Ohio technology education teacher describes

how he implemented a marine engineering project

to design underwater ROVs.

Brian Lien


Web News




3 Calendar

10 Resources

in Technology

30 Classroom







Using Engineering Cases in Technology Education

This article seeks to consider engineering case studies as a logical way to teach the

engineering design process to students not commonly familiar with the process.

Todd R. Kelley

Teaching Students about Clean Fuels and Transportation Technologies

We can utilize renewable energy technologies to foster our students’ creative thinking and

design in a green world while applying Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics


Joe R. Busby, DTE and Pam Page Carpenter

Portable Inspiration: The Necessity of STEM Outreach Investment

Describes Portable Inspiration, an outreach program designed to expose students, educators,

and communities to the experience of engineering and the design process.

Rich Kressly, with Sylvia Herbert, Phil Ross, and Delia Votsch

2009 Directory of ITEA Institutional and Museum Members

Publisher, Kendall N. Starkweather, DTE

Editor-In-Chief, Kathleen B. de la Paz

Editor, Kathie F. Cluff

ITEA Board of Directors

Ed Denton, DTE, President

Len Litowitz, DTE, Past President

Gary Wynn, DTE, President-Elect

Greg Kane, Director, ITEA-CS

Joanne Trombley, Director, Region I

Michael A. Fitzgerald, DTE, Director, Region II

Mike Neden, DTE, Director, Region III

Patrick McDonald, Director, Region IV

Michael DeMiranda, Director, CTTE

Andrew Klenke, Director, TECA

Ginger Whiting, Director, TECC

Kendall N. Starkweather, DTE, CAE,

Executive Director

ITEA is an affiliate of the American Association

for the Advancement of Science.

The Technology Teacher, ISSN: 0746-3537,

is published eight times a year (September

through June with combined December/January

and May/June issues) by the International

Technology Education Association, 1914

Association Drive, Suite 201, Reston, VA

20191. Subscriptions are included in

member dues. U.S. Library and nonmember

subscriptions are $90; $100 outside the U.S.

Single copies are $10.00 for members; $11.00

for nonmembers, plus shipping and handling.

The Technology Teacher is listed in the

Educational Index and the Current Index to

Journal in Education. Volumes are available on

Microfiche from University Microfilm, P.O. Box

1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106.

Advertising Sales:

ITEA Publications Department


Fax: 703-860-0353

Subscription Claims

All subscription claims must be made within 60

days of the first day of the month appearing on

the cover of the journal. For combined issues,

claims will be honored within 60 days from

the first day of the last month on the cover.

Because of repeated delivery problems outside

the continental United States, journals will be

shipped only at the customer’s risk. ITEA will

ship the subscription copy but assumes no

responsibility thereafter.

Change of Address

Send change of address notification promptly.

Provide old mailing label and new address.

Include zip + 4 code. Allow six weeks for



Send address change to: The Technology

Teacher, Address Change, ITEA, 1914

Association Drive, Suite 201, Reston, VA

20191-1539. Periodicals postage paid at

Herndon, VA and additional mailing offices.


World Wide Web:

Now Available on the

ITEA Website:

Call for Presenters for ITEA’s 2010

Conference in Charlotte, NC,

March 18-20

Theme: Green Technology: STEM

Solutions for 21 st Century Citizens

Save the Planet! Make the world a better place! Become aware of how we can

make a difference to sustain our environment through smart decision-making,

consumerism, designing, creating, and using human ingenuity! These are all

statements about GREEN TECHNOLOGY that need to be addressed today to

properly save and use our resources for tomorrow. What better way to address

these issues than through a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

(STEM) education. ITEA’s Annual Conference in Charlotte, NC on March

18-20, 2010 will become a series of presentations about the use of design and

technology to make a better society by using best practices to deliver education

with an eye on 21 st Century learning skills as a basis for our future citizens.

STRAND ONE: Designing the Green Environment

STRAND TWO: Describing Best Practices through Teaching and

Learning STEM

STRAND THREE: Developing 21 st Century Skills

Application to Present in Charlotte:

Deadline is June 15, 2009.

ITEA is “LinkedIn”

ITEA has created a group for members of

LinkedIn, an interconnected network of

experienced professionals from around the

world. Through LinkedIn, you can find, be introduced to, and collaborate with

qualified professionals with whom you need to work to accomplish your goals.

When you join, you create a profile that summarizes your professional

expertise and accomplishments. You can then form enduring connections by

inviting trusted contacts to join LinkedIn and connect to you. Your network

consists of your connections, your connections’ connections, and the people

they know, linking you to a vast number of qualified professionals and experts.

Through your network you can:

• Manage the information that’s publicly available about you as professional.

• Find and be introduced to potential clients, service providers, and subject

experts who come recommended by your LinkedIn colleagues.

• Create and collaborate on projects, gather data, share files, and solve


• Be found for opportunities and find potential partners.

• Gain new insights from discussions with like-minded professionals in private

group settings.

• Discover inside connections that can help you land jobs.

• Post and distribute job listings to find the best talent for your organization.

Once you’re a member of LinkedIn, ITEA’s group of professional educators can

be accessed at



T h e Vo i c e o f Te c h n o l o g y E d u c a t i o n


Editorial Review Board


Gerald Day

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Lori Abernethy

Andrew Morrison ES, PA

Byron C. Anderson

University of Wisconsin-Stout

Steve Andersen

Nikolay Middle School, WI

Stephen L. Baird

Bayside Middle School, VA

Lynn Basham

Virginia Department of


Mary L. Braden

Carver Magnet HS, TX

Jolette Bush

Midvale Middle School, UT

Mike Cichocki

Salisbury Middle School, PA

Laura Morford Erli

East Side MS, IN

Jeremy Ernst

North Carolina State


Mike Fitzgerald, DTE

IN Department of Education

Kara Harris

Purdue University

Marie Hoepfl

Appalachian State University

Laura Hummell

Manteo Middle School, NC

Doug Hunt

Southern Wells HS, IN

Chad Johnson

West Washington HS, IN

Anthony Korwin, DTE

NM Public Education


Frank Kruth

South Fayette MS, PA

Theodore Lewis

University of Trinidad and


Linda Markert

SUNY at Oswego

Mary Annette Rose

Ball State University

Terrie Rust

Oasis Elementary School, AZ

Bart Smoot

Delmar MS/HS, DE

Jerianne Taylor

Appalachian State University

Editorial Policy

As the only national and international association dedicated

solely to the development and improvement of technology

education, ITEA seeks to provide an open forum for the free

exchange of relevant ideas relating to technology education.

Materials appearing in the journal, including

advertising, are expressions of the authors and do not

necessarily reflect the official policy or the opinion of the

association, its officers, or the ITEA Headquarters staff.

Referee Policy

All professional articles in The Technology Teacher are

refereed, with the exception of selected association

activities and reports, and invited articles. Refereed articles

are reviewed and approved by the Editorial Board before

publication in The Technology Teacher. Articles with bylines

will be identified as either refereed or invited unless written

by ITEA officers on association activities or policies.

To Submit Articles

All articles should be sent directly to the Editor-in-Chief,

International Technology Education Association, 1914

Association Drive, Suite 201, Reston, VA 20191-1539.

Please submit articles and photographs via email

to Maximum length for

manuscripts is eight pages. Manuscripts should be prepared

following the style specified in the Publications Manual of

the American Psychological Association, Fifth Edition.

Editorial guidelines and review policies are available by

writing directly to ITEA or by visiting

Publications/Submissionguidelines.htm. Contents copyright

© 2008 by the International Technology Education

Association, Inc., 703-860-2100.

1 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009


ITEA is Going Green in Charlotte!

March 18-20, 2010

Save the Planet! Make the world a better place! Become

aware of how we can make a difference to sustain

our environment through smart decision-making,

consumerism, designing, creating, and using human

ingenuity. These are all statements about Green Technology

that need to be addressed today to properly conserve and

use our resources for tomorrow. What better way to address

these issues than through Science, Technology, Engineering,

and Mathematics (STEM) education. This conference will

become a series of presentations about the use of design

and technology to make a better society by using best

practices to deliver education with an eye on twenty-first

century learning skills as a basis for our future citizens.

Sign Up Now for ITEA’s Newest Technology

Interest Group – TSA!

This is a forum dedicated to those interested in the topic of

the Technology Student Association. As a member of this

community you can post topics, communicate privately

with other members, respond to polls, upload content,

and access many other special features. In this TIG, you

can discuss with other ITEA members issues regarding

leadership curriculum, competitive events, encouraging

student leaders, current products, and anything else related

to the Technology Student Association. Moderator –

Doug Miller, TSA State Advisor, Missouri Department of

Elementary and Secondary Education, Jefferson City, MO.

Mark your calendar now to join ITEA in beautiful

Charlotte, North Carolina on March 18-20, 2010 for the

72nd Annual ITEA Conference and Exhibition. Don’t miss

this extraordinary opportunity!






Call for Presenters in Charlotte

The presenter application process for ITEA’s 2010

Charlotte, NC conference is now in full swing. Presentations

must address the conference theme, “Green Technology:

STEM Solutions for 21 st Century Citizens” and, specifically,

one or more of the following three strands: 1) Designing the

Green Environment, 2) Describing Best Practices Through

Teaching and Learning STEM, and 3) Developing 21 st

Century Skills. Complete descriptions of the strands are

posted at

htm along with an online link to the Application to Present.

Hurry! The application deadline is June 15, 2009.

ITEA Blog Update

Be sure to check in from time to time with ITEA’s firstever

Blog, “Advocating Technological Literacy.” Its purpose

is to provide an avenue for delivering timely news and

commentary on subjects pertaining to technological

literacy, as well as a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse of what

we’re working on at any given point in time. Maintained

by ITEA’s Editor and through the use of “Guest Bloggers,”

the ITEA Blog will utilize text, images, and links to other

sources. Readers will have the ability to leave comments as

well as participate in ongoing polling on various topics and

can choose whether or not to automatically receive notices

of new posts. Take a look today by going to http://iteatide.

Facebook “Cause”

David Janosz of NJTEA has created a “Cause” on Facebook

entitled “Technological Literacy for All.” As of this

writing, the cause has over 402 people signed up and

is growing fast! Show YOUR support today. Facebook

members can go directly to


2 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009



April 4, 2009 The Ohio Technology Education Association

(OTEA) Spring Conference 2009 will be held at Worthington

Kilbourne High School in Columbus, Ohio. Visit for details.

April 27, 2009 IMSTEA Super Mileage Challenge will

take place at O’Reilly Indianapolis Raceway Park in

Indianapolis. Indiana High School students are challenged

to engineer solutions for our nation’s energy needs in the

2009 Super Mileage Challenge! In the SMC, high school

students apply Science, Technology, Engineering, and

Mathematics (STEM) to design, engineer, construct, test,

and evaluate vehicles that obtain the highest MPG. Details

can be found at

SuperMileageChallenge.html or

April 30-May 1, 2009 The 2008/2009 New Jersey

Technology Education Association (NJTEA) Conference,

“Sustainability in Design,” will be held at the Hilton

Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. Keynote speakers will be TTT

contributor Harry Roman and ITEA President, Ed Denton,

DTE. Check

Conference.html for details.

May 26-27, 2009 The Connecticut Technology Education

Association (CTEA) Spring Conference 09 will be held

at CCSU. As in years past, the highlights of this year’s

conference will be the Exhibitor section, the Workshop

sessions, and the great Texas barbecue lunch. To get a free

lunch, you must preregister before May 1, 2009. You can

register online from the CTEA website or by mail. Visit for details.

June 15, 2009 Submission Deadline for Application to

Present at ITEA’s 72 nd Annual Conference, March 18-20,

2010 in Charlotte, NC. The conference theme is “Green

Technology: STEM Solutions for 21 st Century Citizens.” The

application and complete information are available at www.

June 26-30, 2009 The Centre for Research into Primary

Technology (CRIPT) at Birmingham City University will

host its 7th International Primary Design & Technology

Conference, “Making the Difference,” at the Quality Inn,

Hagley Road, Birmingham. Events will include keynote

addresses, research papers, case studies, practical

workshops, visits to primary schools, and displays of

resources. For registration information, please contact Clare

Benson at

June 28-July 2, 2009 The Technology Student Association

will hold its 31st TSA National Conference, “Shape the

Future,” at the Sheraton Denver Hotel and the Colorado

Convention Center. Complete conference information,

including registration, accommodations, and competition

rules, is available at


August 24-28, 2009 The Pupils’ Attitudes Towards

Technology (PATT-22) Conference, “Strengthening

Technology Education in the School Curriculum,” will

be held in Delft, the Netherlands, hosted by the Science

Education and Communication (SEC) section at the Delft

University of Technology. You are invited to submit papers

to address one of the following subthemes: Seeking strategic

curricular alliances; Educating teachers for a sustainable

technology education; Educational research for supporting

technology education; Promoting technology education

for the wider public; Seeking political support; or Other

strategies for strengthening the position of technology

education in the school curriculum.

PATT is an international discussion platform for research

and developments in technology education. PATT

conferences are characterized by their informal atmosphere,

the absence of parallel sessions, an open exchange of

information, and ideas in presentations and discussions.

The PATT-Foundation is based in the Netherlands.

For additional information, contact Marc J. de Vries at Deadline for preregistration is

April 1, 2009.

October 6-8 2009 Don’t miss TENZ 2009. TENZ’s seventh

biennial conference will, like its predecessors, offer a firstclass

professional development opportunity to all those

interested in technology education. The conference will

be held in Napier, where Napier’s stunning War Memorial

Conference Centre is the venue for presentations, workshops,

and the conference dinner. The programme

will include a broad range of activities for primary,

secondary, and tertiary educators. Register now at, where you will also find information on

possible accommodation. To find out more about TENZ

2009, email

3 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

You are encouraged to contribute to the Conference by

sharing your experience through a paper or workshop

presentation. The Organising Committee is keen to see a

range of presentations, and information about submission is

now available at

November 11-13, 2009 ICTE 2009 (International

Conference on Technology Education in the Asia-Pacific

Region) will hold its fall conference, “Less is More,

Searching Solutions to Facilitate Technology Education

with Limited Resources,” in Taipei, Taiwan. The organizing

committee has issued a call for papers and invites

submission of papers on any topics relating to technology

education. ICTE is a biennial conference in which the

most representative technology associations/societies in

seven countries in the Asia-Pacific Rim participate.

Deadline for submission of papers is June 1, 2009. The

conference website is

Email Dr. Chi-Cheng Chang at for

additional information.

List your State/Province Association Conference in TTT

and Inside TIDE (ITEA’s electronic newsletter). Submit

conference title, date(s), location, and contact information (at

least two months prior to journal publication date) to kcluff@

217_430 TechEd7x4.625bw.P1:Layout 1 11/7/08 2:19 PM Page 1

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4 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Using Engineering Cases in

T echnology Education

By Todd R. Kelley

Engineering students who only

practice engineering problems

often have a false sense of

security that engineering

problems are crisp and narrow

analytical problems.


There has been a great deal of discussion in the past few

years about implementing engineering design in K-12

classrooms. Experts from K-12 education, universities,

industry, and government officials attended the ASEE

leadership workshop on K-12 Engineering Outreach in

June of 2004 and came to a consensus on the need to

implement engineering in K-12 schools (Douglas, Iversen, &

Kalyandurg, 2004). Many leaders in the field of technology

education believe that developing technological literacy

in students can be best delivered by teaching engineering

design (Wicklein, 2006, Lewis, 2005, Dearing & Daugherty,

2004). The use of the engineering design process is stressed

throughout Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for

the Study of Technology (ITEA, 2000/2002/2007), especially

Standards 8 through 13.

While there may be strong support for teaching engineering

concepts to K-12 students, how this knowledge is properly

delivered to high school students is still a debatable topic.

This article seeks to consider engineering case studies

as a logical way to teach the engineering design process

to students not commonly familiar with it. Arguments

have been made against assigning students to full-scale

engineering design problems when they are new to

engineering. Often novice engineering students lack the

analytical tools necessary for successful development of

design solutions to full-sale engineering problems (Petroski,

1998, Dym, 1994). Introducing engineering design to K-12

students through the employment of design case studies is a

logical solution.

Henry Petroski (1996) documents a number of historical

design cases that highlight the design evolution of everyday

items such as the standard GEM paperclip.

Design Case Studies Defined

Although design case studies have been used in engineering

schools since the late 1960s, the term may be new to those

in the field of technology education. Design case studies

have a variety of definitions, depending on the source. The

5 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

general term design case study has several variations in title

including engineering cases and case studies. Geza Kardos

(1979) says that the terms “engineer case, cases, and case

studies are used loosely and interchangeably,” (p.1). In a

separate article, Kardos (1979) defines engineering cases

as “ . . . a written account of an engineering activity as it

was actually carried out” (p.1). H.O. Fuchs (1974) defines

an engineering case as: “A case is a written account of an

engineering job as it was actually done, or of an engineering

problem as it was actually encountered” (p. 1). A common

key to any engineering case is that the writing is based

on factual information about a real engineering case or

problem. One common practice is to change the names of

the parties involved in the engineering case; however, the

overall details must remain factual.

Variety of Formats

Some engineering cases tell the full story by providing

the problem statement, the processes and procedures,

and the actual applied solution; thus, these cases are

known as case histories. “A case history is an account of

an actual event or situation; it reviews the variables and

circumstances, describes how a problem was solved,

and examines consequences of decisions and the lessons

learned” (Richards & Gorman, 2004, p. 2). Henry Petroski

(1996) documents a number of historical design cases

that highlight the design evolution of everyday items such

as the standard GEM paperclip along with eight other

design categories that are presented in the book Invention

by Design: How Engineers Get From Thought to Thing.

He provides an historical perspective of the design and

engineering of everyday artifacts. Petroski provides early

patents of many household items such as the zipper and

aluminum can. Petroski also presents case histories that

feature the detailed analysis of engineering, such as the

case of a common pencil. This particular case history

illustrates how important it is to scrutinize and interpret

the often seemingly trivial details of engineering analysis.

Some of Petroski’s historical engineering design cases show

the reader the details of how common household artifacts

are mass-produced. Designing an artifact that meets a

human need is one thing; designing it for mass production

is another task entirely. Petroski provides some excellent

historical cases that can provide students with greater

insight into the world of design and engineering.

Case problems present an engineering case as an openended

problem that can contain multiple solutions. The

analysis and final solution stages to the engineering design

process are intentionally left out of a case problem. A case

problem can be an excellent way for students to study the

Some of Petroski’s historical engineering design cases show the

reader the details of how common household artifacts are


engineering design process and provide an opportunity

to determine on their own what aspects of the problem

require analysis. A case problem then allows the students to

make an informed decision about a proposed solution. The

instructor can require students to defend their solutions

by using the analysis data. This experience can provide

new insight into how important it is for an engineer to

carefully consider all aspects of a technical problem as well

as increase the ability to defend the final solution based on

factual information in a clear and logical manner.

One very powerful format of engineering design cases

is when cases are presented using multimedia formats.

New engineering cases have been documented in

multimedia forms including videotapes, CDs, and DVDs.

This multimedia format allows engineering cases to

include interviews with the stakeholders and principal

engineers, visits to the site where the case takes place,

and provides graphical and numeric data often obtained

in the analysis stage of the engineering design process.

Moreover, multimedia formats allow an instructor to hold

a large amount of information about an engineering case

in a compact form. The instructor has the ability in using

multimedia formats to select only the information he or

she wants students to use for their assignment. Multimedia

formats can bring the engineering design case to life and

allow for more individual interaction that might require

students to locate the information they deem important

6 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Multimedia engineering cases

provide a real-world virtual

field trip inside the world

of engineering that might

otherwise have been out of


to their assignment. Many public school systems today

greatly limit or have eliminated field trips altogether,

yet multimedia engineering cases provide a real-world

virtual field trip inside the world of engineering that might

otherwise have been out of reach (Richards & Gorman,

2004). A program in conjunction with Tuskegee University

effectively uses multimedia-formatted engineering design

cases in K-12 schools. The results of the program indicated

that using these cases broadened students’ understanding

of engineering, and it boosted students’ retention rates

(Seif, 1994).

Why Engineering Cases for Technology


Much of the writing about the application of case studies in

engineering education suggests that engineering cases are

an excellent learning tool to use with students inexperienced

with an engineering design process—a freshman engineering

major or nonengineering major, for example,

because he or she would not possess the analytical tools to

properly engage in full-scale engineering design experiences

(Petroski, 1998). Petroski suggests that case studies enable

students to understand engineering in the broad context in

which engineering is actually practiced. One of the greatest

benefits of using engineering cases to teach engineering

design to a novice is that there are no prerequisites in the

study of an engineering case study; generally, anyone can

learn about engineering through engineering cases.

Case Studies Teach About Real-World


Most case studies are generated from real-world situations;

consequently, they contain many more unknowns than

problems developed for a textbook example. It is very

important that students learn that engineering is all about

working with unknowns. Real case studies illustrate to

students that even though a solution is generated, such as

the GEM paper clip, it does not mean that the solution is

without problems. Engineering is about compromise—an

important reality of engineering that technology education

students must learn. Technology education students will

likely learn more from the flaws and failures of the featured

engineering solutions in an engineering case study than

about the successes of a design solution. Often individuals

learn as much from failures as they do from successes. Some

engineering cases specifically select failures in engineering

to highlight such real cases as the Tacoma Narrows Bridge,

Failure of a Large Gearset, and Twelve Years to Discover

the Obvious (Henderson, Bellman, & Furman, 1983).

Students provided with an opportunity to study these cases

can formulate their own judgments and decisions about

such cases and compare their conclusions with those of

the real engineers assigned to the actual cases. Technology

education students studying case studies will be given an

opportunity to view the overall process of engineering

design through a real engineering example allowing students

to have a better understanding of the caliber of the problems

that engineers encounter, as well the processes and

procedures engineers apply to solve such problems.

Students Benefit from Engineering Cases

Effective engineering cases present the complete details

of an engineering problem as well as the entire process

undertaken by the principal engineer to solve such a

problem. Consequently, an engineering case is drastically

different from a problem that might be presented in an

engineering textbook. An engineering case presents more

than a simple mathematical problem. Engineering students

who only practice engineering problems often have a false

sense of security that engineering problems are crisp and

narrow analytical problems. Real engineering problems

are ill-defined and are embedded within an entire system;

therefore, analysis must consider the entire system.

Engineering cases also require students to go beyond a

single answer. Because a real case study is multifaceted,

it requires students to think about all aspects of the

engineering design process, not just an analytical piece

(Henderson, Bellman, & Furman, 1983). Engineering cases

allow students to learn how to sift through the details of an

7 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

engineering case to discover the most essential information

needed to address the critical issues; this is known to the

engineering community as framing or setting the problem.

When students are asked to place judgments on the

approaches and procedures of a practicing engineer, their

learning moves from low-level knowledge and application to

higher levels of learning such as synthesis and evaluation.

Engineering Cases Motivate

Many in the engineering community have suggested using

engineering cases to motivate engineering students and

to address the problems of retention (Smith & Kardos,

1987). Engineering design cases provide students with

meaningful, real-world examples of applying math and

science to engineering problems. H.O. Fuchs (1974) believes

that engineering cases motivate students because a wellwritten

case study draws on their interests and engages

them in the engineering problem. He believes that students

are able to get into the case study because cases include

the human or social factors of an engineering problem.

Engineering cases are about real people with real problems,

an important element in order for students to have the

ability to identify with the problem (Fuchs, 1974). Students

can approach an engineering case as if they are the project

engineer, thus providing a sense of ownership that is not

easily achieved with a standard textbook engineering

problem. Some engineering cases are written excluding

actual applied solutions, allowing students to apply their

own knowledge and frame the problem to solve in the way

they dictate. This provides motivation and opportunity for

creativity. Engineering cases provide the important lesson

that engineering problems do not contain a single correct

answer. This fact can empower a student to develop his or

her own approach to the problem.

Design case studies have been successfully used in

K-12 programs to increase technical awareness and to

attract students into the field of engineering. Tuskegee

University has successfully worked with three public

school corporations to develop K-12 engineering education

programs that utilize engineering design cases, and students’

perceptions of engineering through the use of engineering

cases have been favorable as indicated by program surveys

(Seif, 1994).

Engineering Case Libraries

The Engineering Case Program originated at Stanford

University in 1964 and is still sponsored by the American

Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). An ASEE Case

Study Committee exists under the Design in Engineering

Education Division (DEED) of ASEE. The Rose-Hulman

Institute of Technology houses the Engineering Case

Library. Rose-Hulman is responsible for reproducing and

distributing the over 250 design cases housed at the library.

Another source for engineering cases is the National

Engineering Education Delivery System (NEEDS). This

source for engineering cases has been developed by the

National Science Foundation Synthesis Coalition (Richards

& Gorman, 2004).


Engineering case studies have been used successfully as

teaching tools by the engineering education community

for many years, and the benefits of using engineering

cases to teach the engineering design process is widely

documented. However, many educators in the field of

technology education may not be familiar with engineering

cases and the potential they possess as teaching tools.

Certainly, some modification and editing of an engineering

case must take place to adjust the content so that it can be

appropriately used with K-12 students, but engineering

cases can provide the needed details about engineering that

might otherwise be missed without their use. Engineering

cases are another tool that has potential to assist K-12

educators to properly implement engineering concepts into

the curriculum.


Dearing, B. M. & Daugherty, M. K. (2004). Delivering

engineering content in technology education. The

Technology Teacher, 64 (3), 8-11.

Douglas, J., Iversen, E., & Kalyandurg, C. (2004). Engineering

in the K-12 classroom: An analysis of current practices

and guidelines for the future. A production of the ASEE

Engineering K12 Center.

Dym, Clive L. (1994). Teaching design to freshmen: Style

and content. Journal of Engineering Education, 83 (4),


Fuchs, H. O. (1974). On kindling flames with cases.

Engineering Education, (March issue).

Henderson, J. M., Bellman, L. G., & Furman, B. J. (1983,

January). A Case for teaching engineering with cases,

Engineering Education, pp. 288-292.

ITEA. (2000/2002/2007). Standards for technological

literacy: Content for the study of technology. Reston, VA:


Kardos, G. (1979, March). On writing engineering cases.

Paper presented at ASEE National Conference on

Engineering Case Studies.

Kardos, G. (1979, March). Engineering cases in the

classroom. Paper presented at the ASEE National

Conference on Engineering Case Studies.

8 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Lewis, T. (2005). Coming to terms with engineering design

as content. Journal of Technology Education, 16 (2), 37-


Petroski, H. (1998, October). Polishing the GEM: A firstyear

design project. Journal of Engineering Education,

pp. 313-324.

Petroski, H. (1996). Invention by design: How engineers get

from thought to thing. Cambridge: Harvard University


Richards, L. G. & Gorman, M. E. (2004, June). Using case

studies to teach engineering design and ethics. Paper

presented at the American Society for Engineering

Education Annual Conference & Exposition, Salt Lake

City, UT.

Seif, M. (1994, March). Multimedia design case studies.

Paper presented at ASEE/GSW, Southern University,

Baton. Rouge, LA.

Smith, C. O. & Kardos, G. (1987, January). Need design

content for accreditation? Try engineering cases!

Engineering Education, pp. 228-230.

Wicklein, R. C. (2006). Five good reasons for engineering

design as a focus for technology education. The

Technology Teacher, 65(7), 25-29.

Todd R. Kelley is an assistant professor in

the Department of Industrial Technology

at Purdue University. He can be reached at

This is a refereed article.

9 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Resources in Technology

Water Treatment: Keeping it


By Petros J. Katsioloudis

A simple activity that can be

conducted with students is the

filtration of water with the use of a

homemade filter.

The availability of water has dictated the location and

survival of civilizations through the ages. Nearly 1.1

billion people around the world lack access to potable

drinking water sources, and 2.2 million die from basic

hygiene-related disease, an issue that can easily be justified

as the most important environmental problem of all (World

Health Organization, 2007). The majority of these deaths

are wholly preventable through effective improvements in

water, sanitation, and hygiene. The United States remains

strongly committed to providing safe drinking water for

all of its citizens (Environmental Protection Agency

(EPA, 2005)).

The national goal for sanitary drinking water has been to

provide water that meets all health-based standards to 95%

of the population served by public drinking water supplies

by 2005 (EPA, 1999). In 2002, the level of compliance with

these health-based issues was 94% (EPA, 2003). However,

conventional piped water systems using effective treatment

to deliver safe water to households may be decades

away in much of the developing world. This leaves the

majority of the poorest people in the world with the task

Photo 1. Wastewater Treatment

As agriculture and industry use more and more water to meet

crop and manufacturing needs, there is a growing need to

process and clean wastewater for recycling and consumer use.

Agricultural runoff may include nutrients and other chemicals

that can have negative impacts on public health and the

environment. Efforts are being made to control runoff and

remove contaminants from such water.

of collecting water outside the home, then treating and

storing it themselves (Sobsey, 2002). Even though water

is essential for human life and its quantity and quality are

equally imperative, natural waters are in most cases not

Credit: Department of Primary Industries

10 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

aesthetically or hygienically appropriate to be consumed,

thus calling for some means of treatment. Appearance, taste,

and odor are useful indicators for the quality of drinking

water, but the critical suitability factor in terms of public

health is determined by microbiological, physical, chemical,

and radiological characteristics. As far as is known, the

first instance of filtration as a means of water treatment

dates from 1804, when John Gibb designed and built an

experimental slow-sand filter for his bleachery in Paisley,

Scotland, and sold the surplus treated water to the public

at a halfpenny per gallon (Baker, 1949). In 1855 the first

mechanical filters were installed in the U.S. (Baker, 1949).

Since then a number of modifications and improvements

have been introduced and have attained varying degrees of

popularity. Table 1 describes a number of the most common

water-treatment methods. A variety of technologies for

water treatment exist; some are based on historical watertreatment

techniques. However, there is new research that

has found effective reduction of waterborne pathogens using

innovative technologies (Lantagne, 2007).

Historical Background

According to the Public Health Service (PHS), (2005) the

federal regulation of drinking water quality began in 1914,

when standards were set for the bacteriological quality

of drinking water (PHS, 2005). The standards, however,

applied only to water systems that provided drinking water

to interstate carriers such as ships and trains, and only

applied to contaminants capable of causing contagious

disease. Upon revision in 1925, 1946, and 1962, PHS revised

the standards to regulate 28 substances, establishing the

most comprehensive federal drinking water standards

in existence before the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974.

Table 1. Most Common Water-Treatment Methods


1. Simple method for the inactivation of viral, parasitic,

and bacterial pathogens.

2. Often economically and environmentally


3. Provides no residual protection. (Mintz et al., 2001)


1. Sachet: a packet containing powdered ferrous sulfate (a

flocculant) and calcium hypochlorite (a disinfectant).

Very effective even with turbid water.

Solar Disinfection

1. Uses the synergy of solar UV and heat.

2. Simple, inexpensive, does not affect taste.

3. Ineffective with turbid water.

4. Not good for large volumes. (Mintz et al., 2001)


1. Sodium hypochlorite has proven the safest, most

effective, and least expensive chemical disinfectant for

point-of-use treatment.

2. It can be produced on-site or created on-site through


3. Relatively ineffective against parasites and viruses.

4. The taste and odor of chlorinated water can reduce

use. (Mintz et al., 2001)


1. Many types available for water treatment

• Granular media: Bio-sand, slow sand

• Vegetable- and animal-derived depth filters

• Membrane filters: paper, cloth, plastic

• Porous cast filters: ceramic pots

• Septum and body-feed filters

2. Filtration alone, at a household level, has not proved

effective for viruses and acceptable reductions of

bacteria. (Sobsey, 2002)


1. Works very well on all waterborne pathogens in

combination in parallel with a turbidity reducing

treatment such as coagulation/flocculation or


2. No odor or taste problems.

3. Requires significant energy input: batteries or

electricity. (Sobsey, 2002)

11 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

With minor modifications, all 50 U.S states adopted the

Public Health Service standards either as regulations or

as guidelines for all of the public water systems in their

jurisdictions. However, the aesthetic problems, pathogens,

and chemicals identified by the Public Health Service in

the late 1960s were not the only drinking water quality

concerns, since industrial and agricultural advances and

the creation of new man-made chemicals also had negative

impacts on the environment and public health.

The main sources of drinking water are often polluted by

industrial and municipal chemicals (Gevod et al., 2003).

While filtration was a fairly effective treatment method for

reducing turbidity, disinfectants such as chlorine played the

largest role in reducing the number of waterborne disease

outbreaks in the early 1900s. In 1908, chlorine was used for

the first time as a primary disinfectant of drinking water in

Jersey City, New Jersey. Even though water treatment plants

reduce the concentrations of harmful chemicals in waters

to a safe level, the use of chlorine results in the formation

of disinfectant by-products, which have been proved to be

strongly carcinogenic (Gevod et al., 2003). The use of other

disinfectants such as ozone also began in Europe around

this time, but was not employed in the U.S. until several

decades later.

Even though the new chemicals were effective for water

treatment, many others were finding their way into water

supplies through factory discharges, street and farm-field

runoff, and leaking underground storage and disposal

tanks. Although treatment techniques such as aeration,

flocculation, and granular-activated carbon adsorption

existed at the time, they were either underutilized by water

systems or ineffective at removing some new contaminants.

Several studies conducted by the Public Health Service

in 1969, and later in 1972, showed that only 60% of the

systems surveyed delivered water that met all the Public

Health Service standards, and 36 chemicals were found

in treated water taken from treatment plants. Over half of

the treatment facilities surveyed had major deficiencies

involving disinfection.

The combination of health issues and increased

awareness eventually led to the passage of several federal

environmental and health laws, one of which was the Safe

Drinking Water Act of 1974. This law, with significant

amendments in 1986 and 1996, is administered today by the

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Ground

Water and Drinking Water (EPA) and its local partners

(EPA, 1996). According to several EPA surveys, from 1976 to

1995 the percentage of small and medium community water

systems (systems serving people year-round) that treat their

water has steadily increased (EPA, 1995).

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

and the National Academy of Engineering named water

treatment as one of the most significant public health

advancements of the twentieth century (NAE, 2007). Today,

filtration and chlorination remain effective treatment

techniques for protecting U.S. water supplies from harmful

microbes, although additional advances in disinfection have

been made over the years. Filtration was recognized quite

early in recorded technological history as a unique process

for improving the clarity of water (Montgomery, 2005). As

summarized by Baker (1949), the earliest recorded reference

to the use of filters for water treatment occurred about 3000

years ago in India. The first attempt at filtering a municipal

supply in the United States occurred in Richmond, Virginia,

in 1832 under the direction of Albert Stein (Baker, 1949).

According to a 1995 EPA survey, approximately 64 percent

of community ground water and surface water systems

disinfect their water with chlorine (EPA, 1995). The

economy and effectiveness of chlorine in killing waterborne

organisms has made water chlorination a tremendous

public health success worldwide. Most studies have shown

positive associations between chlorinated drinking water

and colorectal and bladder cancer. This has been attributed

to trihalomethanes (THMs), a carcinogenic organic

halogenated byproduct of water chlorination (Reuber,

1979). Many of the treatment techniques used today by

drinking water plants include methods that have been

used for hundreds and even thousands of years; however,

newer treatment techniques (e.g., reverse osmosis and

granular activated carbon) are also being employed by

some modern drinking water plants. Military units must

have the capability to transport or produce large qualities

of water for personnel use (Photo 2). Emergency and public

disaster units must also have similar capabilities. In the

1970s and 1980s, improvements were made in membrane

development for reverse-osmosis filtration and other

treatment techniques such as ozonation. Ozone is used in

many drinking water plants for the oxidation of organic

micro pollutants and manganese as well as for disinfection

(Staehelln & Holgne, 1982).

Water Treatment Process

The process of water treatment starts from the initial point

at which water is pumped into a container from its source.

To avoid adding contaminants to the water, this physical

infrastructure must be made from appropriate materials

12 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Credit: Ministry of Defense Singapore

Photo 2. Water Treatment Unit

Military and emergency organizations, much

the same as municipalities, require quality

potable water. Portable desalination units such

as the one shown here have the capability to be

placed on location and to produce quantities of

high-quality water on short notice.

and constructed so that accidental contamination does not

occur. Most of the time water is collected from rivers and

lakes where debris such as sticks, leaves, trash, soil and

other large particles exist and, unless removed, may interfere

with subsequent purification steps. Screening therefore is

the first step during which water passes through multiple

screens that collect large particles. Once water is collected,

the next step is storage. According to Montgomery (1985),

water from rivers could be stored for periods from a few

days to many months to allow natural biological purification

(p. 19). Once water is stored, the next process is flocculation,

in which dirt particles come out of solution in the form of


Flocculation is a process used in water treatment for

aggregation or growth of destabilized particles, which can be

easily removed through subsequent treatment methods such

as sedimentation or filtration (Vigneswaran & Visvanathan,

2000). The three major mechanisms of flocculation are: a)

aggregation resulting from Brownian movement (random

movement of particles suspended in a liquid) in which

particles move in water under Brownian motion, collide

with other particles, and form larger, heavier particles not

affected by the motion; b) aggregation induced by velocity

gradient in the fluid that involves particle movement

with gentle motion of water that promotes forming of the

particles into a rounded mass and eventually separation due

to mass weight; c) differential settling in which flocculation

is due to the different rates of settling of particles of different

sizes (Vigneswaran & Visvanathan, 2000).

Once the process of flocculation is completed, the next

step is sedimentation, a solid-liquid process that makes use

of the gravitational settling principle. In water-treatment

plants, sedimentation is used to remove settleable solids left

from the flocculation process. Since the size of the particles

in the surface water is smaller, sedimentation precedes

flocculation (Montgomery, 1985). Upon completion of the

sedimentation process water will then go through filtration.

Filters are divided into two types: pressure and gravity.

Pressure filters consist of closed vessels containing beds

of sand or other granular material through which water is

forced under pressure (Montgomery, 1985). A gravity filter

consists essentially of an open-topped box, drained at the

bottom, and partly filled with filtering medium clean sand.

Raw water is admitted to the space above the sand and flows

downward under the action of gravity. Purification takes

place during this downward passage. Like synthetic filters,

natural sand filters (called slow-sand filters) achieve the

same results when the water goes through and gets filtered

from particles. In a slow-sand filter the water enters the

water above the filter bed, awaiting its downward passage

through the medium. This raw water reservoir is about 1-1.5

m deep, and the average time the sample will remain there

varies from 3-12 hours, depending on the filtration velocity

(Montgomery, 1985). The heavier particles of suspended

matter start to settle. During the day and under the

influence of sunlight, algae are growing and are absorbing

carbon dioxide from the water to form cell material and

oxygen. Along with the natural slow-sand filter technique

is the lava filter technique in which lava rocks are used to

filter particles and impurities out of the water. Once the

water is cleaned of the different particles, the final step is

13 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Credit: Texas Water Development Center

Photo 3. Water Treatment Plant

Water treatment plants process water through a series of settling and sedimentation, flocculation, and filtering steps. Chemicals are added

to eliminate bacteriological pathogens and meet health needs such as fluoridation to produce a high-quality water product.

disinfection, where chlorine can be used to remove odors

and taste. Water is then pumped to the households

for consumption.

Design Initiative for Students

A simple activity that can be conducted with students is

the filtration of water with the use of a homemade filter. To

build the filter, we need a one-liter plastic water bottle with

a lid that can serve as the housing for the filtration system

and an ordinary plastic straw that can serve as the spout.

The filtration system will consist of cotton batting, fine- and

large-grain gravel, fine- and large-grain sand, and a coffee

filter. A mug can be used to capture the filtered water.

To create this style of homemade water filter, students will

cut off the bottom of the one-liter water bottle and create

a hole in the lid of the bottle so that a straw may fit snugly.

The straw must sit halfway through the opening in the lid.

Once the straw is in place, add the cotton batting at the

bottom of the one-liter bottle and use it as lining for your

filtration system. Next, place a layer of fine-grain sand

followed by a layer of large-grain sand and follow the layers

of sand with a layer of fine-grain gravel and then larger-grain

gravel. Once the bottle is full with the sand and gravel layers,

top the filtration system with the coffee filter. The filter is

now complete. Students will then pour unfiltered water

through the coffee filter to work its way through the layers

of sediment to wick away the impurities in the water. The

cotton batting will catch particulates from the sediment and

act as a final buffer. Finally a few drops of chlorine can

be added in the filtered water to disinfect and finalize

the process.

Activities such as the one described above are easy

to correlate with the technological literacy standards

developed by the International Technology Education

Association (ITEA, 2000/2002/2007). See Table 2 for

correlations with ITEA’s standards.


Water quality is of concern to many. The substantial

value of water is confirmed by society’s need for water and

stability for all sectors, and it depends on access to reliable,

good quality water. A nation’s survival depends on and is

affected by water availability; therefore, water resources

14 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Table 2. Correlation with Standards for Technological Literacy

The Nature of Technology Technology and Society Design

Standard 1: Students will develop an

understanding of the characteristics and

scope of technology.

Standard 2: Students will develop an

understanding of the core concepts of


Standard 3: Students will develop an

understanding of the relationships among

technologies and the connections between

technology and other fields of study.

Standard 4: Students will develop an

understanding of the cultural, social,

economic, and political effects of


Standard 5: Students will develop

an understanding of the effects of

technology on the environment.

Standard 6: Students will develop

an understanding of the role of

society in the development and use

of technology.

Standard 7: Students will develop

an understanding of the influence of

technology on history.

Standard 8: Students will develop

an understanding of the attributes

of design.

Standard 9: Students will develop

an understanding of engineering


Standard 10: Students will

develop an understanding of the

role of troubleshooting, research

and development, invention and

innovation, and experimentation in

problem solving.

Note. Adapted from Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology (ITEA, 2000/2002/2007).

must be guarded and be protected from pollution and

abuse to ensure the potential of the land for the sake of

future generations.


Baker, M. N. (1949). The quest for pure water. New York, NY:

American Waterworks Association.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2005). National

primary drinking water regulations. EPA-published

manuscript: 40 CFR Part 142. Washington, DC.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (2003). Method

1602. Male-specific (F+) and somatic coliphage in water

by single agar layer (SAL) procedure. Washington, DC:


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (1999). Guidelines

for testing microbiological water purifiers. Washington,

DC.: Author.

Genov, V., Reshetnyak, I., Gevod, I., Shklyarova, I.,

& Rudenko, A. (2003). Modern tools and methods

of water treatment for improving living standards.

Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine: Springer.

International Technology Education Association.

(2000/2002/2007). Standards for technological literacy:

Content for the study of technology. Reston, VA: Author.

International Technology Education Association. (1996).

Technology for all Americans: A rationale and structure

for the study of technology. Reston, VA: Author.

Lantagne, D., Quick, R. & Mintz, E. (2007). Household

water treatment and safe storage options in developing

countries: A review of current implementation practices.

Retrieved November 2008, from:


Mintz, E., Bartram, J., Lochery, P., & Wegelin, M. (2001). Not

just a drop in the bucket: Expanding access to point-ofuse

water treatment systems. Am J Public Health, 91(10),


Reuber, M. D. (1979). Carcinogenicity of chloroform.

Environmental Health Perspectives. 31, 171-182.

Staehelln, J. & Holgne, J. (1982). Decomposition of ozone in

water: Rate of initiation by hydroxide ions and hydrogen

peroxide. Journal of Environmental Science Technology,

16 (10), 676-681.

Sobsey, M. D. (2002). Managing water in the home:

Accelerating health gains from improved water supply.

Geneva: WHO.

Vigneswaran, S. & Visvanathan, C. (2000). Water treatment

process. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Inc.

World Health Organization. (2007). Combating waterborne

disease at the household level (PDF). IWA Publishing.

ISBN 978 92 4159522 3.

Petros J. Katsioloudis, Ph.D., is an

ambassador to Cyprus for the International

Technology Education Association. He is

an assistant professor in the Department of

Occupational and Technical Studies at Old

Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

15 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Teaching Students about Clean Fuels

and Transportation Technologies

By Joe Busby, DTE and Pam Page Carpenter

Technology teachers are part of

the global solution for educating

a greater public about energy

inputs, processes, and outputs.

Global warming, going green, ethanol, biodiesel, fuel

cells, hydrogen combustion, and hybrids are some

of the terms being tossed around in mainstream

media these days. The grassroots efforts of many

environmentalists and concerned citizen groups, Al

Gore’s (2006) documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, on

global warming, rising petroleum fuel prices, concerns for

dependency on oil, national security, and jobs are a few of

the issues driving the need to become more informed and

involved in going green.

Regardless of a person’s convictions and belief system,

science has provided a body of knowledge that points

to human interaction with nature as being the leading

cause of pollution and a variable to the cause of global

warming. Some of this knowledge is being debated

within the science community, and even more within the

mainstream of society. For many, the question of what is

fact or fiction is real.

Technology teachers are part of the global solution for

educating a greater public about energy inputs, processes,

and outputs as indicated in Standards for Technological

Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology (STL) (ITEA,

2000/2002/2007): Standard 5 – the effects of technology

on the environment, Standard 15 – agricultural and

related biotechnologies, Standard 16 – energy and

power technologies, and Standard 18 – transportation

technologies. Therefore, technology teachers need reliable

and basic information about renewable energy technologies

to incorporate into their classroom instruction in order to

better fulfill STL.

Junior Solar Sprint students ready to race.

There are many alternative energy and transportation

technologies being implemented that will make a

positive difference on the environment. Many other

technologies that hold great promise are currently in a

research and development phase. The following topics

are environmentally friendlier energy and transportation

technologies that are currently being implemented in

various places around the world.

16 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

Fuel-efficient vehicles, referred to as FEVs, are determined

by the maximum miles per gallon (MPG) and the lowest

emissions. Emissions contribute to greenhouse gases, with

transportation being the largest contributor to carbon

dioxide (CO 2

). According to the Energy Information

Administration (2007), 98% of CO 2

is emitted as a product

of the combustion of fossil fuels in the United States.

Some vehicles are partial zero-emissions vehicles (PZEVs).

An example of a PZEV is the Toyota Prius, a hybrid car

that runs on gasoline and batteries. When the Prius is

using only battery power, it is said to be a zero-emissions

vehicle (ZEV) because it is not emitting any pollutants

into the atmosphere. The batteries have a limited range,

so the gasoline internal-combustion engine (ICE) provides

most of the power for the auto. When a hybrid’s ICE is

running, gasoline is burned and emissions are released into

the atmosphere. A hydrogen vehicle is considered a ZEV

because its only emission is a harmless water vapor (Air

Resources Board, 2004a). This makes it an excellent vehicle

to drive to help eliminate greenhouse gases.

In order to achieve clean-air standards, California

has enacted strict regulations requiring automobile

manufacturers to produce and sell zero-emission vehicles

(Air Resource Board, 2004b). These standards can be met

by producing and selling a greater number of PZEVs. These

regulations will push the automobile industry to create a

variety of vehicles with zero and partial emissions.

Alternative Fuels

Alternative fuels are non-petroleum-based fuels and are

sources of renewable energy. Alternative fuels include

battery power, biodiesel, biomass, ethanol, hydrogen, solar,

and wind energy. Most of these renewable energy sources

are currently being used to power alternative fuel vehicles

and as oxygenates in low-level fuel blends (U.S. Department

of Energy, 2008b). Hydrogen is presently being researched

and developed, with the first leased vehicles powered by

hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen internal combustion

engines now available for consumers in some states.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) are defined by the use of

non-petroleum-based renewable fuels. Examples of AFVs

are automobiles that use biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen,

and solar energy. Approximately 1.8 million AFVs were

sold in 2007 in the U.S. During 2008, it was estimated

that over 11 million AFVs were in service in the U.S., and

automobile manufacturers offered over 70 models of AFVs

to consumers, a marked increase from 11 models in 2001

(AutoblogGreen, 2008).

Flexible-Fuel Vehicles

Flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs) are defined by the use of both

fossil fuels and alternative fuels (e.g., gasoline and ethanol,

diesel and biodiesel). Onboard sensors detect which fuel is

being utilized in order to accommodate for and efficiently

burn the fuel in an ICE. The U.S. Department of Energy

(2008a) estimates more than 6 million FFVs were in

service in 2008, and many of the owners were not aware

their vehicles were FFVs. The lack of awareness causes an

underutilization of alternative fuels by the owner/operator

and reduces the environmental benefits of the vehicle.


Biomass is plant and animal matter that is used to make

energy. It is considered the most common renewable source

of energy (Markert and Backer, 2003). Examples of biomass

are wood, corn stalks and shucks, grain, wheat stubble, and

animal dung. Ethanol and biodiesel are two alternative fuels

acquired from biomass resources and utilized in FFVs.


Ethanol is a renewable grain alcohol fuel derived from

the fermentation of plant materials that are high in

carbohydrates. Some plants that are used to create ethanol

include corn, sugar cane, grains, and woody fibers. The

woody fibers (cellulosic) tend to be the most difficult from

which to obtain ethanol because of the lignin in the plant,

but hold the greatest potential for future production and

meeting the U.S. Department of Energy’s (30 x 30) goal for

replacing 30% of automobile gasoline by 2030 (Neilson,


Currently, researchers at North Carolina State University are

manipulating the genes in popular trees to create trees with

less lignin and improve ethanol production (Burns, 2007).

Ethanol is usually mixed with gasoline of a blend of E-85

(85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) for flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs),

and heavy-duty trucks use E-95, which is a blend of 95%

ethanol and 5% gasoline.


Biodiesel is derived from soy beans, canola, and other

plants. It is also processed from recycled vegetable oil. All

diesel engines can operate on biodiesel blends of 5% (B5)

and 95% petro-diesel. Blends higher than 5% may require

modifications to the vehicle. Biodiesel may be used in the

17 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

pure form of B100 or mixed with diesel as a blend of 20%

biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel known as B20. Biodiesel

results in lower emissions of particulate matter, carbon

monoxide, hydrocarbons, and other pollutants. These lower

emissions have less adverse impact on the environment.

Concerns about the harmful effects from diesel exposure

have given cause for some school districts to use biodiesel in

school buses. Biodiesel is a safer alternative for the students

riding buses because carbon monoxide and particulate

matter (breathing irritants) are reduced by almost one

half. Further, two potential cancer-causing compounds,

polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and nitrated

polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (nPAH), are reduced by

large amounts. Most of the PAH compounds are reduced

by 75 percent, and the nPAH are reduced by 90 percent or

more (National Biodiesel Board, 2008).


Hydrogen holds great promise as a fuel for advanced

technology vehicles. Currently, hydrogen is being used in

hydrogen fuel cells to make electricity and in ICEs where it

is burned instead of gasoline. Hydrogen is considered the

simplest of elements because its structure is one proton

and one electron. Individual hydrogen elements are rarely

found alone in nature because of their single electron. When

hydrogen is concentrated, it is usual for two hydrogen

elements to join by sharing their electrons and form H 2


(Ewing, 2007). Hydrogen is the cleanest of fuels since its

emissions are clean water. Hydrogen is also being combined

with natural gas and propane systems to improve emissions

of the systems.

Hydrogen Fuel Cells

A fuel-cell vehicle (FCV) uses a hydrogen fuel cell. The fuel

cell, like a battery, is an electrochemical energy conversion

device. The difference between a battery and fuel cell is

that a battery has to be recharged and eventually discarded,

while a fuel cell, as long as it has a constant flow of

chemicals to contact the catalyst, will continue to produce


There are several types of hydrogen fuel cells. The

electrolyte used in the fuel cell provides the primary

Triumph Spitfire EV converted by high school students.

18 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

classification for the fuel cell. Alkaline Fuel Cells (AFCs) are

the first type of fuel cells to be used in the space program.

Although expensive to operate, these fuel cells produce

electricity for the spacecraft and consumable water for the

astronauts (U.S. Department of Energy, 2007).

The Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell (PEM) is presently

the most suitable for land transportation applications. This

fuel cell is fueled by hydrogen that is carried onboard and

oxygen obtained from the atmospheric ambient air. The

only emissions from a PEM are heat and water. The need

for stored hydrogen is a current challenge for this system.

A great amount of storage is necessary for PEM-powered

vehicles to have ranges comparable to gasoline-powered


Other types of fuel cells exist but each exhibits challenges

for application to vehicular transportation systems.

Several systems produce extreme heat well past the boiling

point of water. Others produce by-products that are not

environmentally friendly.

Battery-Powered Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles (EVs) are advanced technology vehicles

that rely on rechargeable batteries as the source of energy.

Refueling is only a plug-in to an electrical supply system.

EVs have a range of 50 to 200 miles (Plug In America, 2007).

There are zero emissions from EVs, and they require no oil

changes, no tune-ups, and little in the way of purchasing

parts for the vehicles.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles

There are numerous hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) on

the road today. HEVs have a combination of an ICE and an

electric motor to provide power. The HEVs are able to travel

greater ranges while consuming less fuel and producing

fewer emissions than conventional vehicles. HEVs are

generally classified as partial zero-emissions vehicles

(PZEV). While being powered only by the electric motor,

zero emissions are being emitted, but when the gasoline

engine is in operation, emissions are expelled.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are just entering

the market for private transportation. PHEVs utilize an ICE

and an electric motor just like other HEVs. The difference is

that the PHEV works like an EV and plugs into a wall socket

to charge the batteries. It also works like an HEV and gets

energy from the ICE, which gives the automobile a greater

range than an EV.

Solar Vehicles

While EVs obtain energy from batteries, solar electric

vehicles (SEVs) use the sun as their source of power.

Photovoltaic cells, mounted on the exterior of the vehicle,

are used to convert sunlight into electricity. SEVs are

considered by many to be impractical because of the

limitations of sunlight. Still, photovoltaic modules are

being produced as add-on applications to HEVs. The gains

recognized by the addition of the photovoltaics reduce the

operation of the gasoline engine, thus further reducing


An Example Educational Energy and

Transportation Initiative

The North Carolina Solar Center is an educational initiative

of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State

University and has provided K-12 programs in alternative

fuels and transportation for over ten years. Two Solar

Center programs that can serve as models for technology

education are the Junior Solar Sprint and the Students

Making Advancements in Renewable Transportation

Technologies (SMARTT) Challenge programs.

The Junior Solar Sprint program provides a hands-on

opportunity for middle school students to learn about solar

energy. The students study content materials developed

by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2001)

that enable them to design, build, and test a small vehicle

powered by a photovoltaic cell. The culminating activity is

the annual competition with other schools on the campus of

North Carolina State University.

The SMARTT Challenge program is a year-long

curriculum program that includes converting a gasolinepowered

vehicle into an electric vehicle. The SMARTT

Challenge program is a hands-on thematic program with

many requirements that ends with a competition. The

students are expected to study a specific curriculum that

intentionally integrates science, technology, engineering,

and mathematics (STEM) concepts. For the competition,

the students have to create a web page that explains their

environmental education and their activities while building

the electric vehicle, create a display explaining building the

electric vehicle and document its use in the community, and

develop oral presentations per requirements.

Both the Junior Solar Sprint and the SMARTT Challenge

programs provide opportunities for students to work

cooperatively in a hands-on learning environment. These

programs give students, who may not be academically

19 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

engaged, opportunities to become interested in school

again. Further, the programs provide extended learning

opportunities for all students involved, including those who

are more inclined towards academics.

The North Carolina Solar Center provides workshops to

prepare teachers for teaching the Junior Solar Sprint and the

SMARTT Challenge programs. They also offer a number of

other workshops for teachers about wind energy and other

renewable energy technologies. The Solar House, part of the

North Carolina Solar Center, is the premiere facility where

students and the public can see and experience firsthand

solar energy apparatus incorporated in residential dwellings.

These apparatus include active and passive solar energies,

photovoltaics, wind turbine, and alternative fuels.

in fuel economy standards for automobiles since 1975,

calling for a 40 percent increase by setting a national fuel

economy threshold at 35 miles per gallon by 2020. The bill

also sets a mandatory Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) where

fuel producers are required to use a minimum amount of

biofuel in 2022.

Technology education teachers can be part of the solution

to environmental challenges by educating about clean,

alternative fuels and transportation technologies. Many

changes are happening within these areas and students need

Facts into Action – An Activity

All technology education teachers can create opportunities

for their students to experience alternative energy and

transportation technologies. These experiences can happen

in well-equipped laboratories or in programs with meager

means for hands-on activities, as whole class, partial class,

enrichment, or after-school activities. With appropriate and

adequate planning, successful experiences can be realized

by all.

A constructivist’s model to follow that allows for

engineering design and problem solving is for the teacher

to present information about alternative energy sources

as applied to transportation technologies and then have

students help create a list of alternative transportation

energy source topics for further investigation. The students

can choose a topic from the list and work individually, in

pairs, or in small groups to research the topic. Based on the

research, the student or team should plan, build, and test a

working model of the system. Data collection for the intent

of making informed decisions and reporting the findings

should be included as part of the testing. The students

should utilize professionals from the community to help

develop the plans for building the system, as well as the

plans for testing the system and reporting the data from the

tests. Ultimately a report and display can be developed to

show the findings of the research project and to serve as an

outlet to disseminate the information to a greater public.


Clean fuels and transportation technologies are part of

the puzzle for cleaning up the earth’s environment. While

this article was being written, the United States passed the

Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Office of

the Press Secretary, 2007). This bill enacts the first increase

The NC State Wolfpack Energy-Efficient Locomotion at the Junior

Solar Sprint and Students Making Advancements In Renewable

Transportation Technologies (SMARTT) final event.

20 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

to have experiences and develop understanding so they

can be wise consumers as well as conscious contributors to

future developments.


Air Resources Board. (2004a). Fact sheet: California vehicle

emissions. California Environmental Protection Agency.

Retrieved November 14, 2007, from


Air Resources Board. (2004b). Manufacturers advisory

correspondence (MAC) 2004-01. California

Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved November

14, 2007, from


AutoblogGreen. (2008). Auto Alliance: 1.8 million

alternative fuel vehicles sold in 2007. Retrieved

May 27, 2008, from


Burns, M. (2007). Breeding better biofuels. Results: Research

and graduate studies at North Carolina State University.

Retrieved November 13, 2007, from


Energy Information Administration. (2007). Emissions of

greenhouse gases in the United States 2005: Executive

summary – carbon. Official energy statistics from the U.S.

Government. Retrieved January 6, 2008, from www.eia.


Ewing, R. A. (2007). Hydrogen – hot stuff cool science.

Masonville, CO: PixyJack Press, LLC.

Gore, A., et. al. (2006). An inconvenient truth. Hollywood,

CA: Paramount Classics and Participant Productions.

International Technology Education Association.

(2000/2002/2007). Standards for technological literacy:

Content for the study of technology. Reston, VA: Author.

Markert, L. R. and Backer, P. R. (2003). Contemporary

technology: Innovations, issues, and perspectives. Tinley

Park, IL: The Goodheart-Willcox Company, Inc.

National Biodiesel Board. (2008). Biodiesel: Biodiesel

emissions. Retrieved May 22, 2008, from www.biodiesel.


National Renewable Energy Laboratory. (2001). Junior solar

sprint: So…you want to build a model solar car. Retrieved

June 16, 2007, from


Neilson, R. M., Jr. (2007). The role of cellulosic ethanol

in transportation. Idaho Falls, ID: Idaho National

Laboratory. (INL/CON-07013406 Preprint). Retrieved

May 27, 2008, from


Office of the Press Secretary. (2007, December 19.) Fact

sheet: Energy independence and security act of 2007. The

White House. Retrieved January 5, 2008, from www.

Plug In America. (2007). Frequently asked questions.

Retrieved June 14, 2007, from


U.S. Department of Energy. (2007). Hydrogen, fuel cells &

infrastructure technologies program. Energy efficiency

and renewable energy. Retrieved November 6, 2007 from


U.S. Department of Energy. (2008a). Alternative fuels &

advanced vehicles data center. Alternative & advanced

vehicles: Fuels. Retrieved May 27, 2008, from www.eere.

U.S. Department of Energy. (2008b). Alternative fuels &

advanced vehicles data center. Data, analysis & trends:

Fuels. Retrieved May 27, 2008, from


This is a refereed article.

Joe Busby, Ed.D., DTE is an assistant

teaching professor in the Department of

Mathematics, Science, and Technology

Education at North Carolina State

University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He

can be reached via email at joe_busby@

Pam Page Carpenter, Ed.D. is the K-12

Education Specialist at the North Carolina

Solar Center at North Carolina State

University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

She can be reached via email at pam_

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21 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Design Your Own Underwater

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)

By Brian Lien

[The project] will excite your

students, and you as the teacher

will get a new outlook on your

teaching career.

While looking for labs for my pre-engineering class,

I came across an idea for a marine engineering

project from the Future Scientists and Engineers of

America website. I thought the lab looked fun, and

it was not too expensive. These were two important criteria

as I chose labs for the class. Another important criteria I

had for implementing labs into the class was whether or

not I could incorporate both science and math concepts

into the lesson. I felt I could develop a connection between

both science and math with technology and engineering as

I developed the lab. What really clinched the development

of the project for me came when I saw Robert Ballard speak

at the 2008 ITEA conference in Salt Lake City. As he talked

about his experiences in ROVs and his JASON Project, I

knew this lab was one my students needed to do.

Mark and Kyle are making final adjustments to their

underwater ROV.

I knew developing this lab would take me out of my comfort

zone. However, I feel for a teacher to become a better

teacher, he or she must learn new things. This, in turn,

frustrated one of my students who told me she thought I

should know everything. She thought I should have done

the lab first and worked out all of the problems in order

to anticipate the problems students would have and be

able to provide answers. I explained that when she gets a

22 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

job and her boss approaches her with a problem that she

can’t immediately solve, she will have to use the skills she is

learning now to help her solve problems later. She was OK

with the explanation; however, she still thought the teacher

should know all the answers.

The lesson began with the purchase of two kits from FSEA

( I read through their

material, which gave good instructions on how to build the

project but did not incorporate the science and math skills

I wanted the students to use. So, I bought Build Your Own

Underwater Robot and Other Wet Projects by Harry Bohm.

This book contained some good background information

about the history of underwater devices and some of the

science and math skills I wanted to teach my students to

better understand marine engineering. I used this book

to develop my opening-day activity sheet. I wanted to

introduce students to undersea devices and to develop a

timeline using the CAD system as their output means. I

wanted to show them how a CAD system could be used as

a design tool to output a drawing other than the traditional

two- and three-dimensional drawings they were used to. I

gave them hints on what to look for, but in my redesigned

handout, I further refined some specific devices I wanted

them to look for. These devices started about 1200 AD and

went through the JASON Project’s ROVs.

Once they learned about the history of these devices, it

was time for the science. In the book, Build Your Own

Underwater Robot and Other Wet Projects, there is a section

on Archimedes’ Principle. I used this section to help the

students with the concept of buoyancy. Next year, as my

“hook” to this activity, I am going to have a clear bucket or

tub filled with water. I will have 5-10 different objects and

have students tell me if each object will float like a boat,

submerge—but not sink, or sink like a rock. To confuse

them I will also have a piece of ebony wood and Pumice

rock. These two materials act differently than most other

types of wood or rock. Once they see what the objects do in

water, I will introduce them to Archimedes’ Principle and

the terms, “positively buoyant,” “neutrally buoyant,” and

“negatively buoyant.” I will then relate these terms to the

project they are going to design. You can even talk about

Newton’s First Law of Motion during the course of this lab.

Once student ROVs are neutrally buoyant, it will not take

much effort to get the ROV moving.

After the history aspect is complete, students can begin

the build process. I gave them the design problem of

having to pick up five steel washers from the bottom of

the shallow end of a pool using a supplied electromagnet.

Trevor is adjusting the electromagnet. He is using the

extra weight of the electromagnet to make his project

neutrally buoyant.

They had ten minutes to do this task. I had the students use

the engineering design method. First the students had to

research small ROVs. You could incorporate this into your

timeline if you wanted to condense the time frame of the

lab. Students were asked to determine if any projects like

this had been done before. When I started the research, I

discovered several great websites—including information

about a regional and a national contest with a device very

similar to what we were designing. The contest is by Marine

Advanced Technology Education Center (MATE), with

information at


Next, students brainstormed ten ideas and made a CAD

drawing of their final idea. They had to use Microsoft

Excel® to make a parts list and total the cost of their project

before I would give them any supplies. I gave them a list of

23 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Zach practices “flying” the day before the contest.

This is an example of how we waterproofed the 12-volt DC motor.

We used petroleum jelly to seal the small hole where the shaft

extends through the bottom of the film canister. To seal the rest of

the motor in and the rim of the lid, we used wax toilet bowl sealer.

We used the pipe insulation to help make it neutrally buoyant.

supplies I would provide and anything else they would need

to purchase. I had them include the cost of the controller

also. They had to use my costs to complete their sheet,

keeping the total under $40. That sounds like a lot; however,

I, the controller, was included as part of the build cost.

Once the parts list was complete, students had three days

to build the project. Next they had four days in our pool to

test their projects. We needed that time; however, if they

built the project small enough, they could have taken the

project home to do testing in their bathtubs. This was even

a comment made by one of the students on the year-end

evaluation—the desire for additional testing time. Taking

the projects home to test could potentially cut out a day or

two of testing at school. For the actual competition, I invited

local media, both print and video, into the pool area. I also

suggested inviting science and math students to see the

event as a way to promote our classes for next year.

Take lots of pictures. I took several pictures each day while

the students were in the design and build stages. I also

took several pictures and video clips while they were in the

pool. Our school posted the pictures on its website and

I emailed the link everywhere that came to mind. Fellow

ITEA Idea Gardeners replied with how they did the MATE

competition. I used their expertise to improve my lesson

for next year. Here is one comment I received from Celeste

Baine, the author of Engineers Make a Difference: “The

interesting thing is that his project is considered marine

engineering. Marine and ocean engineering are important

branches of engineering, especially since we are studying all

aspects of the ocean environment to determine our effect on

the oceans, the ocean as a natural resource, and its effect on

ships and other marine vehicles. For me personally, water is

relaxing, and the ocean has always beckoned. I’m sure there

are many students who feel the same way. A career being

outside enjoying the water would be especially appealing.

This line of work is a welcomed defiance to most of the

stereotypes about what engineers do all day.” Debra Shapiro,

an associate editor from the National Science Teachers

Association, read the blog and ran a story on the NSTA

website. My administration and parents really loved the

lab. Best of all was that this lab was listed as one of the top

two labs by my students. They really liked the project. They

wanted me to teach it earlier in the year so they would be

more willing to do a better job on it.

Some of the problems I encountered with the lab included

having a power supply break the day before I was to go to

the pool for testing. To overcome that problem I used old

cell phone charging units. I found a couple of 1-amp units

that worked, but not as well as the real charger would have.

You really need a 6-amp charger or a marine deep cycle

24 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

attery for the project to work well. By the time you turn

on three 12-volt motors and the electromagnet, the ROV

draws about 2.5 amps on dry land. When you put it into

the water, it will draw even more amperage. I would make

the electromagnet differently than the version supplied

by FSEA—its magnet is very heavy. I would make my own

magnet. Propellers were another big challenge for my

students. I bought 40 propellers for the project, and we went

through all 40. The students kept breaking them. They had

a very hard time gluing the propellers to the shaft. They

finally started experimenting with different glues, but it

wasn’t until the propeller fell off the shaft for the third and

fourth time that I suggested trying a different method for

propeller attachment. Trying to keep the students “thinking

small” was a challenge. However, two of my most successful

projects were my largest projects. The cost of the project

is expensive for the first year. If you make a controller for

each ROV, the cost will be about $50-$55 per unit; however,

reuse of the controllers allows subsequent yearly costs to

remain minimal. If you keep all of the ROVs, you can reuse

95% of the projects. The most expensive part, other than the

controllers, is the 12-volt motor. They cost about $8.00 each,

and you need at least three per ROV. These can be reused

from year to year also.

There are several variations you could do to make this

project work without a pool. You could make them really

small using very thin PVC and fly them in any large baby

pool or deep sink you might have. You could also not use

the electromagnet and use the pool hoops. The challenge

would be to fly down and gather the hoops off the bottom

of the pool using some arm hanging off the end or bottom

of the ROV. Get creative with the project. It will excite your

students, and you as the teacher will get a new outlook on

your teaching career. It really excited me and kept me going

through the final weeks of the school year.


Bohm, Harry. (1997). Build your own underwater robot and

other wet projects. Vancouver: Westcoast Words. ISBN:


Brian Lien is a technology education teacher

at Princeton High School in Cincinnati,

Ohio. He can be reached via email at blien@

25 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Portable Inspiration: The Necessity of

STEM Outreach Investment

By Rich Kressly

With Sylvia Herbert, Phil Ross, and Delia Votsch

The program is fueled by a

passion to provide others with

opportunities to learn about

the excitement and benefits of

STEM, robotics education, and

competition through hands-on


Student outreach team with PI package.

Running a successful technology education lab

and delivering curriculum in today’s educational

environment can be busy, misunderstood, and

downright exhausting. Keeping up with growing

and emerging technologies, educating the school and

community on what your program is really all about, and

running after-school technology and engineering clubs

leaves precious little time for anything else. On top of

all of that, investing in a STEM outreach program isn’t

even close to feasible, right? Even if it’s far more feasible

than one might think, to suggest that such a program

is a “necessity” is downright foolish, isn’t it? Not in our

opinion. In fact, Pennsylvania Standard 3.8.12 mandates

that students “apply the use of ingenuity and technological

resources to solve specific societal needs and improve the

quality of life,” (Pennsylvania Department of Education,

2002). Further, Standards for Technological Literacy

(STL) Standards 4, 5, 6, and 13 all relate to the impacts

of technology on the environment and society in general

(ITEA, 2000/2002/2007). Whether through a school’s

technology education curriculum, through a cocurricular

STEM-related club, or a combination of both, it would seem

that investment in an outreach program is a compelling way

to address perhaps the most important standard charged to

technology educators across the commonwealth today.

Our Example, But By No Means Our Idea

Originally developed as an extension of the Lower

Merion High School Technology & Engineering Club’s

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team in October

of 2007, Portable Inspiration was designed to expose

students, educators, and communities to the experience

of engineering and the design process. The program is

fueled by a passion to provide others with opportunities to

learn about the excitement and benefits of STEM, robotics

education, and competition through hands-on experiences.

There are also clear benefits for those LMHS students

26 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

who spend time planning and executing these outreach

events in our community and others. Students in our club

are developing leadership and communication skills while

engaging in meaningful and relevant community service.

While Portable Inspiration was born and planned for at

Lower Merion, the idea to perform outreach is something

we cannot take any credit for. As a participant in FIRST

(For Inspiration and Recognition of Science & Technology),

the national nonprofit that operates FRC, we’ve been

encouraged to spread the word of STEM and FIRST’s

ideals of Coopertition and Gracious Professionalism, two

terms that promote the coexistence of cooperation and

competition while emphasizing acting with integrity.

Veteran FIRST participants learn to focus upon the

ultimate goal of transforming the culture in ways that will

inspire greater levels of respect and honor for science and

technology. At Lower Merion we’ve broadened that effort

to include all students in our Technology & Engineering

Club whether they are affiliated with FIRST, VEX, TSA,

or all three. With a strong ethos behind the effort, we then

planned for and developed the Portable Inspiration package

by consulting STEM-focused clubs and robotics programs

that conduct similar outreach in VA, PA, DE, and as far

away as Ontario, Canada. From there, we took the best of

what each example had to offer while considering what

would best meet the needs of our community.

Creating Win-Win Scenarios

From the onset, when creating our outreach program, we

realized that we needed to conserve resources (especially

time and human capital, as these are always scarce) as well as

keeping an eye on cost—both initial and recurring. In short,

we needed a very engaging concept that was flexible and

portable for varying audiences and environments that didn’t

cost a lot or take a tremendous amount of time to create or

maintain. With creating “win-win” scenarios for participants

and student presenters/experts in mind, we settled upon

the use of the VEX Robotics Design System rather quickly

because of its price point and for the fact we were already

invested in VEX in both the Tech Ed curriculum and with

our after-school competitive robotics efforts. We then

developed a robotics game called Pyramid Mania that

utilizes an inexpensive PVC field and tennis balls for game

objects that fit in a single container and set up in mere

moments. This basic outreach package fits into five small

totes; four VEX starter kits and “SquareBots” and one tote

for the game field and objects. With this basic package we

have run hands-on demonstrations for hundreds of visitors

and younger siblings who attend local high school robotics

events and competitions, for cub scouts at a pack meeting,

Club members work with a student with special needs.

and for high school students with special needs. We’ve

also adapted the use of the Portable Inspiration Package to

include more in-depth workshops and learning experiences

for high school and elementary school students.

Thus far these workshops have proven to be productive

and meaningful for students in Grades K-3 in two separate

school districts and in one private school as well. In a halfday’s

time our high school students engage every student

in an entire grade level as champions of engineering and

design as well as acting as community role models. In

addition to controlling a robot in Pyramid Mania, young

students learn about simple machines, robots in the world,

teamwork, and more. Teachers even get the opportunity

to drive a large FIRST robot and leave with classroom

materials. Now, in Year Two of the program, demand is

really growing. A supportive administration has afforded us

the time to conduct the workshops, and we involve many of

our students so that exposure is maximized and lost class

time during the school day is minimized.

The STEM Outreach Recipe—Key Ingredients

Creating your own STEM outreach program and package

isn’t really all that difficult. In the end, all you really need

is the desire to make the investment of time and resources

because you see this as worthwhile for the students,

community, and staff. Selecting a target audience and

choosing your “tools” to deliver the STEM message are

27 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

existing relationships you have with school administration,

webmasters, parent/community groups, local business,

and local media outlets. Once the ball starts rolling, more

support of some kind is sure to follow. Just like the rest of

your work, this will never be a perfect endeavor, but if you

are willing to make this investment, the dividends could

have a deeper and more lasting impact upon your students

and community than you could have ever imagined.

Club members give elementary students a tour of competition

robot “Deuce.”

certainly at the forefront. In our case, we initially wanted to

reach out to a special needs population in our own building,

and things “mushroomed” from there. From the start

we knew that the idea might grow, so we kept the words

“flexible” and “portable” in mind. Alongside those two key

words was a third word: “engaging.” No matter who your

outreach target audience is, you need to be sure that they

are engaged in a way that makes them say “wow.” Robotics is

one way to do this, but there are others as well. The bottom

line is, once you have the audience’s interest, it becomes

very easy for you and your students to deliver a message in a

meaningful and lasting way.

Think hard about the strengths of your program and how

they might be leveraged to create an outreach program.

Naturally, budget is always a consideration. The Portable

Inspiration package initial cost was about $1,500 worth

of VEX and associated equipment, which we had already

budgeted for between curriculum and our robotics team.

That price could easily be cut in half by using two robots

instead of the four we have. Get creative to meet your

needs and constraints. Our additional workshop materials

were all created in-house for under $100 total. Later, we

received a donation that helped us upgrade our simple

machines station. Once you’ve built from your own program

strength and have a package that’s flexible and portable,

promote these activities just like you would promote

any student’s or program accomplishment. Leverage the

The Unintended, Yet Delightful Consequences of

Saying “Yes”

We’re all keenly aware of what happens when excited

students come to a classroom teacher with an “idea” for

a project—it takes precious time and energy. In our case,

however, it’s proving to be more than worth it. As our

students now take the initiative looking for opportunities

to utilize the outreach package to expose, excite, and teach

others about the wonders of technology and engineering,

many are realizing unintended benefits. In addition to our

stated goals, the outreach program has led to an Eagle Scout

project, new robotics team members, and an invitation

to be part of the international Ulster Project. Our high

school students have even been asked to sign autographs

for younger students in workshops. It’s becoming obvious

that these experiences, the ones that we cannot control or

predict, are some of the most meaningful of all. What we

can do intentionally, though, is create an atmosphere where

VEX Robotics Design System.

28 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Guiding an elementary student driving “Square bot.”

creative deployment of STEM outreach is encouraged

and expected.

Going One Extra Step to Start Someone

Else’s Journey

Once you develop your own outreach program based on

your program strengths, go the small extra step to share

what you do. All of it. The only way we’ll ever come close to

achieving a world where people “apply the use of ingenuity

and technological resources to solve specific societal needs

and improve the quality of life” on a grand scale is if we all

utilize today’s modern communication tools to share what

we do—openly and without reservation. Proudly, all of

LMHS’ Portable Inspiration and associated files are available

via a popular competitive robotics education message board

at: For the small

amount of time this took to share, if it helps inspire just one

other program somewhere, it’s well-invested time.

Yes, being a technology educator is indeed too busy a

profession for anyone to fairly ask you to create and operate

a STEM outreach program through curriculum, clubs,

or both. Yet, it just may be a very critical component in

our mission to meet important education standards and,

ultimately, to help produce the kind of students who will

utilize skills, knowledge, and technology for the greater

good, share those success stories and methods openly with

others, and consciously help create a stronger, healthier

global society.


FIRST: For Inspiration & Recognition of Science &

Technology. (October 2008). Retrieved October 20, 2008,


Innovation First, Inc. (2008). Vex robotics design system.

Retrieved October 20, 2008, from

International Technology Education Association.

(2000/2002/2007). Standards for technological literacy:

Content for the study of technology. Retrieved November

10, 2008, from


Pennsylvania Department of Education. (2002). Academic

standards for science and technology. Retrieved October

21, 2008, from


Rich Kressly has been a public educator

for 15 years and is currently serving Lower

Merion High School’s Technology Education

and English departments and running the

school’s competitive robotics program while

also acting as an educational consultant

for Innovation First, Inc. He’s served FIRST

Robotics as a Regional Senior Mentor

and has also been part of the yearly international robotics

challenge design for FIRST’s intermediate program. He has

played roles in designing robotics curriculum and support

materials at the local, state, and national levels—most

recently completing work as one of five lead authors of the

Autodesk VEX Robotics Curriculum. Kressly has also twice

received Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers honors. He

can be reached at

Phil Ross, Delia Votsch, and Sylvia Herbert are student

members of the LMHS Technology & Engineering Club,

the current Captains of Dawgma, the school’s FIRST &

VEX Robotics teams, and have all held various leadership

positions with the club’s TSA Chapter during their high

school careers as well. They can be reached at captains@

29 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Classroom Challenge

Revisiting the Nuclear Power


By Harry T. Roman

When citizens do not understand what

a technology is or what it can do,

there is sometimes a deep-seated fear

about it.

Technologies can be “hot buttons” for controversy,

especially if it has anything to do with nuclear

energy. Undoubtedly, nuclear power plants generate

a significant portion of our nation’s electricity, and

to shut them down would impose severe shocks to the

economy and our electricity bills. Such plants do have

some very important benefits such as no greenhouse gas

emissions, no use of petroleum fuels, and no dependence

on foreign sources for fuel supply. But in the heat of

philosophical battle, opposing sides don’t always hear each

other or listen without bias.

If there is anything that will impact how technology is

accepted, it is likely to be the public’s preconceived notions

and how the popular press in all its forms (print, TV,

radio) influences their opinions. It is often many times

more powerful than any technological fix that scientists

or engineers can apply. The challenge for your class here is

to revisit this controversial power-generation option and

develop ideas for reinvigorating this technology.

Getting Started

The first order of business is to understand how nuclear

power plants operate as well as what leads to the everpresent

controversy surrounding them. How old is this

technology? Where are the plants located? What has been

their performance record? What are the concerns about

these plants today, and how is that different from other

types of power-generation technologies?

30 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

• How much people really understand about how nuclear

plants work.

• What sources of information they have read to arrive at

their conclusions.

• What things trouble them the most about nuclear plants.

• If they are willing to listen to new nuclear power ideas.

Here students can talk to their parents, other teachers,

extended family, and friends to develop an appreciation

about how people view this technology.

France obtains close to 70% of its electricity from nuclear

power plants. Germany, Japan, England, Spain, and

Canada also use nuclear power. What are their opinions

of the technology? Why is France so comfortable with the

technology? Are some other countries moving away from it

and why? We have had nuclear-powered ships for over 50

years, so what’s all the fuss about nuclear power on land?

If there is anything that will impact how technology is accepted,

it is likely to be the public’s preconceived notions and how the

popular press…influences their opinions.

Information abounds about this topic, so finding references

should not be a problem; but it is important that students

read both the pro and con side of the arguments. Balance of

perspective is essential if students are to make meaningful

suggestions about how to “rebirth” the technology. You will

find there are major points of contention about:

• Plant safety

• Radioactive leaks

• Cost of the plants

• Storage and transportation of spent fuel

• Possible attack by terrorists

• Useful lifetime of the plants

• Aging plants

• Fuel recycling

There are also new ideas being talked about for radically

different nuclear power plants, inherently safer and less

prone to leaks. This is food for new ideas about transitioning

the existing technology to something perhaps more


When citizens do not understand what a technology is or

what it can do, there is sometimes a deep-seated fear about

it. Nuclear power is no exception. Have the students ask

around about what people know and fear about nuclear

power and why. Try to have the students be very specific

about how they ask questions and dig deeply to determine:

You will find there are major points of contention about plant


31 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Is it possible to invite pro and con advocates to your

classroom to discuss the technology and address the points

of contention? Is there a utility in your area that operates a

nuclear power plant, and can someone from the plant visit

the students to discuss how the plant is operated? Is there a

local anti-nuclear activist who would be willing to talk with

the students? This would be a wonderful opportunity for

students to dig down to the basics of the arguments and see:

• Where there could be room for compromise and change.

• What alternatives anti-nuclear activists propose.

• How realistic it would be to phase out nuclear plants.

• The experience and knowledge from which both parties


• Irrational fears or misconceptions on both sides of the


Challenge the Status Quo

Once the major issues and the public perception questions

have been understood, it is time for the students to make

their recommendations for change. They should be thinking

along two lines of thought: Is there something that can be

done to existing plants to make them more acceptable? and

What new nuclear power technologies could be used?

Explore the broad gamut of possibilities for students to

consider. They are free to propose new ideas based on

what they have learned thus far in this exercise. Stimulate

discussion and creativity with provocative questions such as:

• Should we build all nuclear power plants underground?

• Maybe if we had more nuclear technology available for the

public to use it might make them more comfortable with

it….why not nuclear-powered cars, home heating systems,


• Can we find something useful to do with all the spent fuel?

• Do we prohibit any public approaches to nuclear plant


• Is it necessary that we have a special organization in

charge of all nuclear power plants and their operation?

• Should we build artificial islands and locate power plants

on them and bring the energy ashore by cables?

• Should we make the power plants smaller and more

numerous to reduce potential problems at large site


• Maybe a massive public education program about nuclear

power is needed, or perhaps a national debate.

• Should we develop power plant designs that are fail-safe

and very different than the types we use today?

Should we build artificial islands and locate power plants on them and bring the energy ashore by cables?

32 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

• If we cannot use nuclear power, what will be its

replacement that could be available any time of the day?

• What is its impact on the environment, air quality, etc?

These are big questions with broad ramifications, but

technology can have such impacts on society—look at stem

cell research, nanotechnology, life extension techniques,

etc. Think about how the car, electricity, motion pictures,

the lightbulb, and airplanes changed our society. Are

there parallels to nuclear power and common lessons that

can be learned? What makes the “hot button” of nuclear

power so different from these other civilization-changing


Urge your students to grab a big chunk of this topic and

run with it. They will learn there is a great deal more to

technology than the “geek stuff.” Here they will be up close

and personal with the social, environmental, institutional,

governmental, and economic forces that ebb and flow in our

capitalist system.

Harry T. Roman recently retired from his

engineering job and is the author of a variety

of new technology education books. He can

be reached via email at htroman49@aol.


33 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

2009 Directory of ITEA Institutional Members

For further information, contact the faculty member listed.



1 Bachelor’s Degree

2 Master’s Degree

3 Fifth Year Program

4 Sixth Year Program

5 Advanced Standing Certificate

6 Doctoral Degree

7 Continuing Education Seminars/Workshops/


Financial Aid Offered

A Undergraduate Scholarships

B Research Assistantships

C Teaching Assistantships

D Scholarships

E Fellowships

F Other


1,2 A,C

The University of West Alabama

Department of University Partners

21982 University Lane

Orange Beach, AL 36561


Rebecca Stevens


1,2,6,7 A,E,F

University of Arkansas

Department of Curriculum & Instruction/Technology


Peabody Hall 116

Fayetteville, AR 72701

479-575-3076 • FAX 479-575-2396

Vinson Carter


1,2,6 D

Griffith University

School of Education and Professional Studies

Mt. Gravatt Campus

Brisbane Qld 4122


Dr. Ivan Chester


1,2,4,6,7 A,B,D

Central Connecticut State University

Department of Technology & Engineering Education

1615 Stanley Street

New Britain, CT 06050-2040

860-832-1850 • FAX 860-832-1811

Dr. James A. Delaura


1,2,3,6 B,C

The University of Georgia

Department of Workforce Education, Leadership and Social


223 River’s Crossing

Athens, GA 30602-4809

706-542-4503 • FAX 706-542-4054

Dr. Robert Wicklein, DTE


1,2,6,7 D

Chicago State University

Technology Education Program

9501 S. King Drive

Chicago, IL 60628


Dr. Cathryn Busch

1,2,7 A,B,C,D

Eastern Illinois University

School of Technology

600 Lincoln Avenue

Charleston, IL 61920-3099


Dr. Mahyar R. Izadi

1,2,6,7 A,B,C,D,F

Illinois State University

Department of Technology

210 Turner Hall, Campus Box 5100

Normal, IL 61790-5100

309-438-7862 • FAX 309-438-8628

Dr. Chris Merrill

34 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009


1,2 A,B,C

Ball State University

Department of Technology

Applied Technology 131

Muncie, IN 47306-0255

765-285-5641 • FAX 765-285-2162

Dr. Ray Shackelford, DTE

1,2,6,7 A,B,C,D,E

Indiana State University

Department of Technology Management

TC 302 John Myers Technology Center

Terre Haute, IN 47809

812-237-3377 • FAX 812-237-2655

Dr. James Smallwood

1,2,6 A,B,D,C,E

Purdue University

Department of Industrial Technology

401 N. Grant Street, Knoy Hall

West Lafayette, IN 47907-2021


Dr. Niaz Latif


1,2,6,7 A,B,C,D

University of Northern Iowa

Department of Industrial Technology

Industrial Technology Center, Room 28

Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0178

319-273-2489 • FAX 319-273-5818

Dr. Bart Berquist (interim)


1,2,7 A,C,D

Fort Hays State University

Technology Studies Department

600 Park Street

Hays, KS 67601-4099

785-628-4315 • FAX 785-628-4267

Dr. Fred Ruda, DTE

1,2,7 A,B,C,D

Pittsburg State University

Department of Technology Studies

1701 S. Broadway

Pittsburg, KS 66762

620-235-4373 • FAX 620-235-4020

Dr. John L. Iley


1 F

Berea College

Department of Technology and Industrial Arts

CPO 2188

Berea, KY 40404

859-985-3063 • FAX 859-986-4506

Dr. Gary Mahoney

1,2,3,6,7 A,B,D,F

Eastern Kentucky University

Department of Technology

521 Lancaster Avenue

302 Whalin Technology Complex

Richmond, KY 40475-3102

859-622-3232 • FAX 859-622-2357

Dr. Tim Ross


1,2,5,7 A,B,C

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Department of Technology

11931 Art Shell Plaza-UMES Campus

Princess Anne, MD 21853-1299

410-651-6468 • FAX 410-651-7959

Dr. Leon L. Copeland, Sr.


1,2,5,7 A,B,D

Fitchburg State College

Department of Industrial Technology

160 Pearl Street

Fitchburg, MA 01520


Dr. James P. Alicata

35 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Lemelson-MIT Program

77 Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge, MA 02139


Leigh Estabrooks


1,2,6,7 A,B,C,D,E

Eastern Michigan University

School of Technology Studies

122 Sill Hall

Ypsilanti, MI 48197

734-487-4330 • FAX 734-487-7690

John Boyless, Director/Dr. Phillip L. Cardon


1,2 A,D

St. Cloud State University

Environmental & Technological Studies

720 – 4th Avenue S., 216 Headley Hall

St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498

320-308-3235 • FAX 320-654-5122

Dr. Mitch Bender


1,2,7 A,B,C,D

University of Central Missouri

Department of Career and Technology Education

120 Grinstead Building

Warrensburg, MO 64093-5034

660-543-4452 • FAX 660-543-8031

Dr. Dick Kahoe/Dr. Odin Jurkowski (chair)


1,2 A,C

Montana State University

Department of Education

118 Cheever Hall

Bozeman, MT 59717-2880

406-994-3201 • FAX 406-994-6696

Scott Davis


1,2,7 A,D,F

The College of New Jersey

Department of Technological Studies

PO Box 7718

Ewing, NJ 08628-0718

609-771-2543/2782 • FAX 609-771-3330

Dr. John Karsnitz


1,2,5,7 A,B,D,F

Buffalo State College

Department of Technology

1300 Elmwood Avenue

Buffalo, NY 14222


Dr. Richard Butz (chair)/Clark Greene (coordinator)

1,7 A,D

New York City College of Technology

Career and Technology Teacher Education

300 Jay Street, M-201

Brooklyn, NY 11201-2983

718-260-5373 • FAX 718-260-5995

Godfrey I. Nwoke

1,2 C

NY State University at Oswego

Department of Technology

Washington Boulevard, 209 Park Hall

Oswego, NY 13126-3599


Philip Gaines

1,2,7 A,C,D

The College of Saint Rose

Department of Applied Technology Education/Education

Tech/Educational Psychology

432 Western Avenue

Albany, NY 12203-1490


Dr. Travis Plowman

36 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009


1,2,7 A,B,C,D,E

Appalachian State University

Department of Technology

Katherine Harper Hall, ASU Box 32122

Boone, NC 28608-2122


Dr. Jerianne Taylor/Dr. Marie Hoepfl

Dr. Jeffrey Tiller (

1,2,6,7 A,B,C,D

North Carolina State University

Mathematics, Science & Technology Education

Box 7801

Raleigh, NC 27695-7801

919-515-1748 • FAX 919-515-6892

Dr. William J. Haynie


1,2,3,4,6,7 A,B,C,D,E

University of North Dakota

Department of Technology

10 Cornell Street, Stop 7118

Grand Forks, ND 58202-3061

701-777-2249 • FAX 701-777-4320

Dr. Dave Yearwood

1,2,7 A

Valley City State University

Department of Technology

101 College Street, SW

Valley City, ND 58072

701-845-7444 • FAX 701-845-7245

Dr. Don Mugan


1,2 A,B,C

Kent State University

College of Technology

375 Terrace Drive

Kent, OH 44242-0001


Dr. Lowell S. Zurbuch

1,7 A,D,F

Ohio Northern University

Department of Technological Studies

Room 208, Taft Memorial Building

Ada, OH 45810

419-772-2170 • FAX 419-772-1932

Dr. David L. Rouch

1,2,3,6,7 A,B,C,D,E

The Ohio State University

Technology Education

1100 Kinnear Road, Room 100A

Columbus, OH 43212-1152

614-292-7471 • FAX 614-292-2662

Dr. Paul E. Post


1,2,7 A,C,D

Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology

100 Campus Drive

Weatherford, OK 73096-3098

580-774-3162 • FAX 580-774-7028

Dr. Gary Bell


1,2,5,7 A,B,D

California University of Pennsylvania

Applied Engineering & Technology

250 University Avenue

California, PA 15419

724-938-4085 • FAX 724-938-4572

Dr. Stanley A. Komacek, DTE

1,2,5,7 A,B,D,F

Millersville University

Department of Industry & Technology

PO Box 1002, Osburn Hall

Millersville, PA 17551-0302

717-872-3316 • FAX 717-872-3318

Dr. Barry David

37 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009


1,2,5,6 A,D

Johnson & Wales University

School of Technology

8 Abbott Park Place

Providence, RI 02903


Frank Tweedie, Dean

1,2,7 A

Rhode Island College

Technology Education Program

600 Mt. Pleasant Avenue

Providence, RI 02908-1991


Dr. Charles H. McLaughlin, Jr., DTE


Linkoping University

Centre for School Technology Education (CETIS)

Campus Norrkoping

Norrkoping SE60174

Dr. Thomas Ginner


1,2 A

Brigham Young University

Technology & Engineering Education

230 SNLB

Provo, UT 84602


Dr. Steven Shumway

1,2,6,7 A,B,C,D,E

Utah State University

Engineering and Technology Education

6000 Old Main Hill

Logan, UT 84322-6000


Dr. Kurt H. Becker


1,2,5,6,7 A,B,C,D,E

Old Dominion University

Occupational and Technical Studies

228 Education

Norfolk, VA 23529-0498

757-683-4305 • FAX 757-683-5227

Dr. Philip A. Reed

2,3,5,6,7 B,C

Virginia Tech

Department of Integrative STEM Education/Technology


300B War Memorial Hall

Blacksburg, VA 24060

540-231-8173 • FAX 540-231-9075

Dr. Mark Sanders


1,2,7 A,B

University of Wisconsin-Stout

Master of Science in Industrial/Technology Education

224C Communication Technologies Building

Menomonie, WI 54751

715-232-2757 • FAX 715-232-1441

Dr. David Stricker


1 A

University of Wyoming

Department of Secondary Education

125 College Drive

Casper, WY 82601

307-268-2406 • FAX 307-268-2416

Dr. Rod Thompson

38 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

2009 Directory of ITEA Museum Members

For further information contact the staff member listed.


Museum of Science

National Center for Technological Literacy

1 Science Park

Boston, MA 02114


Inga Laurila


Baltimore Museum of Industry

1415 Key Hwy

Baltimore, MD 21230


Mike Shealey, DTE

39 • The Technology Teacher • April 2009

Explore the Possibilities.

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Major funding for Engineer Your Life provided by The National Science

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provided by Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. and the United Engineering Foundation


© 2008 WGBH Educational Foundation and the National Academy of

Sciences for the National Academy of Engineering. Engineer Your Life and

logo are trademarks of WGBH. All rights reserved. All third party trademarks

are the property of their respective owners. Used with permission.

Wouldn’t it be great to have all the answers?

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