Teachers take sustainable energy research to pupils

Secondary school teachers from as far afield as Thailand are spending the week at the University to learn about the science behind sustainable energies such as solar power and biofuels.

The teachers have been attending a week-long summer school (20-25 July) with scientists and researchers at the University to build on their knowledge of sustainable energy and learn about the latest research taking place at Bath. The course has been run by the Department of Chemistry in conjunction with its Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies.

The programme of lectures and workshops included a trip to the GENeco Biogas Generation plant at Avonmouth which produces biogas from sewage and food waste to generate electricity and power a car, and the Johnson Matthey Technology centre in Sonning Common to find out more about research into fuel cells.

The teachers have also made solar cells using natural fruit dyes, biofuels and used potatoes, and milk to make bio-plastic, in a series of practical sessions giving them skills and ideas for hands-on lessons to run back in the classroom with their pupils.

One of the event organisers Dr Gan Shermer, from the University’s Department of Chemistry, said: “We’re hoping that the teachers come away from the week excited and informed about the cutting edge research in the field of sustainable energy as well as lots of ideas to make their lessons more inspiring, topical and fun.

"We do lots of outreach events with school students but engaging with teachers means that we can effectively benefit larger numbers of students year on year. Staying on campus has also given the teachers a bit of taste of university life at Bath.”

This is the third year that the department has run the course and this year the group includes a home educator, a teacher from an international college overseas and a Bath alumnus!

The summer school is sponsored by The Goldsmiths' Company. The Goldsmiths' Company sponsors a number of educational initiatives through its charitable trust fund. These are directed towards primary and secondary education, science, and literacy and numeracy programmes.

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