Matthew Brown from Lakewood High School in Golden, Colo. has been awarded this year's Renewable Energy Teacher Award from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) Office of Education Programs.
Students taking technology classes at Lakewood High School this semester are learning about more than construction, technical theater and computer aided drafting (CAD); they are learning about energy issues within their community. Matthew Brown, technology teacher at Lakewood High School, started a new course this year that introduces students to the world of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.
His new course has earned Brown this year's Renewable Energy Teacher Award from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) Office of Education Programs. This award recognizes high school teachers who demonstrate exemplary science teaching in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
"This is a great honor and I'm very flattered," Brown said.
Brown's class, "Introduction to Alternative and Renewable Energy," includes energy efficiency, solar, wind, hydrogen, biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric and nuclear energy. Students have the opportunity to explore and complete projects within each of the areas.
"This fall we've built energy efficient architectural models and solar thermal collectors. Our next project is to build miniature wind turbines and test their output," Brown said. "It's been great to see students take an interest in something I feel so passionate about."
Brown created a hydrogen curriculum while working on his master's degree in technology education at Colorado State University. With additional encouragement from his principal, Brown expanded the curriculum to include other renewable energy technologies and to address current energy issues, government policies and energy sources.
"I think education is the easiest way to create change and we obviously need to change the way we think about our energy future," said Brown. "Teaching the next generation of consumers, inventors, policy makers and scientists the importance of renewable energy will eventually lead to change."
Brown also will teach "Introduction to Alternative and Renewable Energy" at Red Rocks Community College during the spring semester.
"Matt's enthusiasm and drive to teach the next generation will have lasting value and deserves to be recognized with this award," said Dr. Cynthia Howell, director of NREL's Office of Education Programs.
The award was presented at the Colorado Science Teachers Convention Dinner on Nov. 17.
NREL's Office of Education Programs develops and implements energy science programs that engage the young minds of future leaders, scientists and engineers, cultivates partnerships with schools and community organizations and offers opportunities to teachers that revitalize their research interests and skills while giving them additional classroom science applications and technical content.
NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle.