Summary of Renewable Energy - ideas in practice for a sustainable future | NZ teachers, enrol in this LEARNZ virtual field trip

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Summary Page: Renewable Energy - ideas in practice for a sustainable future
Term 1 starting 7 March 2012.



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In preparation for this field trip you will learn about

  • energy
  • renewable energy
  • the carbon cycle
  • energy in biomass
  • energy in wood pellets
  • the use of wood pellets as a renewable energy source for heating in homes, schools and elsewhere.
During the field trip you will start with a crash-course on renewable energy and see examples in action of
  • geothermal power
  • solar power
  • wind power
  • hydro power
Then you will focus on biomass. Meet the people producing the raw material and those using the renewable end product; wood pellet fuel. You will put questions to the experts as you tour through the wood pellet processing plant in Taupō. See how waste sawdust is turned into wood pellets. Investigate the use of wood pellets in the home and in the largest converted wood pellet fuelled boiler in the southern hemisphere at Waiouru Army Base. You will see the carbon cycle in action and relate it to modern issues of fossil fuel use and our carbon footprints. You will discover why there is a high level of interest in sustainable energy production and discuss the impacts of renewable and non-renewable resource use in New Zealand.

Where you will go

Taupō has a large area of biomass in its forests and large examples of geothermal and hydro generation. Solid Energy's wood pellet fuel plant in Taupō is the largest in New Zealand. Opened in 2010, it cost $NZ34 million. The plant processes pine wood residues from central North Island sawmillers and wood-product manufacturers. Formerly waste wood, these residues are screened, ground, dried and compressed into wood pellets that are a clean-burning, low-carbon fuel. Markets are within New Zealand and overseas.

Learning Areas/Levels

Science: Biology Level 6, Living World Levels 3-5, Earth and Space Science Levels 7-8, Planet Earth and Beyond Level 6, Material World Level 6; Social Sciences: Geography Level 6; Social Studies: Place and Environment Levels 3-5, Economic World Levels 3-5

More Curriculum

Also covers content for Achievement Standards from Earth and Space Science (ESS) within the Planet Earth and Beyond Strand such as ESS 2.7: Demonstrate understanding of physical principles related to the Earth System; Science 1.14: Demonstrate understanding of carbon cycling; Science 1.6: Investigate implications of the use of carbon compounds as fuels.

  • Vision, Values, Key Competencies, Principles, Literacy and Numeracy

    By their nature, LEARNZ field trips integrate with the higher levels of the NZ Curriculum. Participation encourages development of the Key Competencies around Thinking, Using language, symbols and text, Managing self, Relating to others, and Participating and contributing. Teachers indicate this in testimonials. LEARNZ field trips have support and activities for Literacy, with opportunities to develop skills in Listening, Reading and Viewing and in Speaking, Writing and Presenting. More about LEARNZ as a Reading Resource and student writing opportunities with LEARNZ. Select LEARNZ field trips have support and activities for Numeracy, encouraging the development of skills in Number and Algebra, in Statistics and in Geometry and Measurement.

  • ESOL

    As well as providing visual and audio material and access to real experiences, LEARNZ links well to ESOL Principles, especially Principle 3 Maintain and make explicit the same learning outcomes for all the learners. How can I make the lesson comprehensible to all students? How can I plan the learning tasks so that all the students are actively involved? Do my students understand the learning outcomes? Principle 4 Begin with context embedded tasks which make the abstract concrete. How can I put these concepts into a concrete context?

  • What's in a Field Trip

    Every LEARNZ field trip has its own newly-built, self-contained web site ready for integration into your teaching and learning programme. Teacher Support has curriculum integration, resources, newsletters, support and evaluation. Prepare Students provides opportunities for student inquiry on two sets of image-rich background pages at reading levels 2 years apart, (students can click to have those pages read to them out loud), online interactive and other activities to check students' understanding, and a glossary. During the field trip there are live tweets on twitter, and daily additions such as a diary, video clips, profiles of the experts (ideal careers education), a photo gallery, and ambassador (mascot) page updates. Live web conferences via Adobe Connect enable teachers to managed students putting prepared and spontaneous questions to experts (recorded for replay). After the field trip, teachers are encouraged to take further action with their class in the community or to go on a related field trip, or to invite a guest speaker, or to present what they have learned to a wider group. Teachers also fill in an online evaluation (more about reflective practice), the field trip prize winner is drawn, and the final newsletter is sent. Content remains online for continued use.

  • How teachers use LEARNZ

    View teacher comments in testimonials and in the LEARNZ Group on the VLN. There are two main ways teachers use a LEARNZ virtual field trip with their class. Firstly, a LEARNZ field trip is ideally an immersive, engaging, synchronous, online learning experience with real-time components and a myriad of opportunities for teachers and students. Secondly, and less ideal but still effective, a LEARNZ field trip can be used as a retrospective experience where the resources such as photos, text, activities, videos and audioconferences/web conferences comprise a unique collection of authentic, contemporary New Zealand teaching and learning material.

  • What Now

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Introductory video for this field trip: Watch, embed or share on Vimeo or click below to watch here.



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Shelley the LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher.

Meet Shelley, your LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher

Inquiry Topics: biomass, carbon, carbon cycle, consequences of consumption, emissions, environmental impacts, geothermal energy, hydro energy, photovoltaic, renewable energy, resource management, resource use, solar power, Taupō, wind energy

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