This project involves two different opportunities for teacher training.  Eligible teachers must (1) teacher 6th, 7th, or 8th grade math or science during the 2013 – 2013 school year, (2) be from a public or private school, and (3) have their principal or headmasters permission for participation.

Training #1 – Save the Animals Engineering Teaching Kits

When: Summer 2013 (refer to your local AMSTI site for specific dates)

Where: At your local AMSTI site

Who should get involved: Middle school math and science teachers with an interest in expanding their repertoire of teaching techniques.  Teachers with an interest in engineering applications, physical science, or robotics are encouraged to apply.

How to get involved: Contact your local AMSTI site for an application.  Approximately 16 teachers/AMSTI in-service region will be chosen for participation.


Selected teachers will engage in a three-day training session in which they learn two Save the Animals Engineering Teaching Kits.  Then, after training, they can checkout these kits from their local AMSTI site during the school year for use in their classroom.

Kit #1 – Save the Penguins

The broad context of this kit is global warming. Students learn that the energy we use to heat and cool our houses comes from power plants, most of which use fossil fuels to convert chemical energy to electrical energy. The burning of fossil fuels has been linked to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which in turn has been linked to increases in global temperature. This change in temperature has widespread effects upon life on Earth. Penguins live in the southern hemisphere, primarily on the icy continent of Antarctica. As the Earth warms and ice melts, penguins lose habitat. Therefore, students see that better-designed houses that use less energy for heating and cooling have an effect on penguins. Energy efficient houses that minimize unnecessary heat transfer will draw less electricity from the fossil fuel burning power plants and not contribute as much to global warming.  Targeted concepts will include: insulation, conduction, radiation, convection, heat transfer, and experimental design.

Kit #2 – Save the Seabirds

The broad context of this kit is oil pollution and its effect on sea birds.  Students will learn that crude oil is mined in the Middle East, West Africa, and Asia as well as here at home.  It is pumped from underground on dry land as well as under fresh and salty bodies of water.  Half of the crude oil pumped from the ground is turned into gasoline to fuel cards.  Nearly 40% is turned into diesel fuel and jet fuel to power airplanes and trucks.  The rest is used for heating and cooking.  The environmental impacts of oil mining are broad.  One critical severe impact occurs when crude oil accidentally leaks into water.  Oil takers can leak, as evidenced by the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 off the shores of Alaska, but offshore oil rigs can explode, as evidenced by the 2010 BP deep water horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.   The ecological impact of these oil spills is severe.  Marine life is especially affected – fish, mammals, plants, and sea birds as well as small creatures at the bottom of the food chain.  Students are asked, “What can we do here at home to reduce our demand for crude oil?  What could we do to prevent an oil spill from ever happening again?  If 90% of crude oil is used for transportation, what environmentally friendly sources are there for transportation?  What can we do to save the sea birds?”  Students learn about how solar energy has been used to create electricity for many things, including cards and airplanes.  At this point, these cars are airplanes are for demonstration purposes, and not effective for transporting more than one person at a time.  However, engineers may be able to improve the technology so that it is a feasible method of providing energy for realistic transportation.  If so, the need to drill deep under the oceans will not be necessary, and the Sea Birds will be spared. _In the Save the Sea birds ETK, students are tasked with the challenge of creating solar-powered transportation for as many people as possible on a small scale. Targeted science concepts will include: light energy, electrical energy, friction, and the engineering design process.

Training #2 – Robotics Education Training

When: Summer 2014

Where: Auburn University

Who should get involved: Middle school math and science teachers who engaged in the Save the Animals training in the summer of 2013.

How to get involved: Approximately 24 teachers will be chosen for participation.  The application process will begin in 2014.


Selected teachers will engage in a week-long training Robotics Education Training.  Training will be on VEX rapid-prototyping kits and include special sections taught by AU faculty members in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, College of Education, and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

Last updated: 04/04/2013