K-12 Outreach

Centered around CCEI’s mission of developing advanced technologies for the biofuel industry, our K-12 activities are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) focused and integrate fundamental concepts of engineering, chemistry, and environmental science.

Click on the tabs below to view CCEI’s past outreach activities, search for K-12 lesson plans, and explore additional teacher resources.

In conjunction with the College of Engineering, CCEI helped coordinate the first High School Engineering Research Internship Program at the University of Delaware. This highly competitive 8-week internship program gave 23 future engineering majors the opportunity to conduct research under the mentorship of a faculty member, staff scientist or postdoctoral student.

For many of these 11th and 12th grade students, this internship was their first work experience. To enhance the professionalism and laboratory skills of these budding researchers, the program also included student development trainings and workshops on topics such as:

  • Laboratory safety training
  • E-mail etiquette
  • Ethics in engineering and science
  • Creating effective research posters
  • Writing technical reports
  • Resume building

At the end of the summer, the interns had the opportunity to share their experience by participating in a poster session at a Summer Finale Reception. At this event, the interns explained their research to faculty, graduate students and program sponsors.

CCEI and the College of Engineering are excited about the success of this new program and look forward to hosting a second High School Engineering Research Internship Program next year. For more information, please visit the High School Research Internship Program page on the UD College Engineering website.

Engineering Cool Stuff Camp

For the past two years, CCEI has provided activities for the Engineering Cool Stuff Camp at University of Delaware. During this week-long day camp, 12- to 16-year-olds are immersed into the world of engineering through laboratory tours and learning activities provided by several different engineering departments.

CCEI staff and students have educated approximately 200 campers about the field of chemical engineering, the benefits of biofuels and the research goals of the center. These interactive camp sessions provided by CCEI engage students in learning by facilitating discussions on alternative energy and giving campers the opportunities to perform hands-on activities.

In 2011, the sessions were led by CCEI undergraduate researchers, who were eager to share their knowledge with the campers. During the first part of the hour-long activity, CCEI undergraduate researchers gave a presentation about the benefits of biofuels, different types of biomass conversion and the role catalysts play in the process. Campers then investigated the properties of catalysts by conducting experiments that examined the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide using yeast. During the experiment, the young scientists gained experience following a procedure, recording data, making predictions and drawing conclusions.

Engineering Spring Break Camp

University of Delaware’s 2011 Engineering Spring Break Camp for 4th – 6th graders exposed campers to many engineering topics through different themes each day. CCEI staff led several camp sessions that were focused on nanoscience and renewable energy.

CCEI introduced campers to the properties of nanoparticles through an activity that investigated surface area. Using tofu, campers measured the surface area of a block as they cut it into smaller and smaller pieces. At the end of the demonstration, campers discovered that even though the volume of tofu had remained the same, the surface area increased as the number of particles increased. In a second nanoscience session, campers became engineers as they explored the world of nanotechnology. Campers were given the task of creating waterproof fabric (cotton socks). Using the engineering design process, campers developed a product, created prototypes and tested their waterproof socks. The session concluded with a discussion about nano waterproofing technology and the hydrophobic effect.

CCEI also led a camp session about biofuels and biofuel production. After a discussion about biofuels and how they are different from fossil fuels, campers performed ethanol fermentation experiments to determine which biomass (corn syrup or granulated sugar) produced the most amount of biofuels.

Smyrna High School’s AP Science Program

CCEI analyzed samples of biodiesel created by Smyrna High School’s AP Biology and AP Chemistry classes. Using gas chromatography, the composition of each sample was determined and compared. The analysis allowed students to determine the energy content of their samples and also identify impurities in the fuel.

Click here to see a summary of the biofuel analysis.

Society of Science Scholars

The Society of Science Scholars, established in September 2010 in conjunction with Newark High School, is a guidance and mentorship program that offers students insight into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers. The club meets every two weeks and has more than 30 members. CCEI graduate students have encouraged club members to pursue an engineering degree by giving presentations on their research and discussing career path decisions.

What In The World Program

In the past, CCEI has partnered with the Delaware Business, Industry and Education Alliance by participating in the “What in the World” outreach program. Local pre-college students are introduced to careers in science, math and technology by local volunteers, such as our CCEI graduate students. The goal of the program is to stress the usefulness of science and engineering, educate students about renewable energy and inspire them to pursue their interests in these subjects.

CCEI graduate students provided basic lessons on chromatography and ethanol production, exposing more than 500 students to the field of chemical engineering and educating them about careers in alternative energy.

Below are links to websites that contain STEM based curriculum.

Relevant Site Description Subject
eGFI Sponsored by the American Society for Engineering Education, eGFI is committed to improving K-12 STEM and engineering education Engineering
TEACHEngineering A digital library that provides teacher-tested, standards-based engineering content for K-12 teachers engineering content for K12 teachers to use in science and math classrooms. Engineering
TryEngineering A joint effort between IEEE, IBM and the New York Hall of Science, provides resources about the engineering profession and its various disciplines. Engineering
Engineering Magic Sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Engineering
National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) Promotes an energy conscious society by creating effective networks of students, educators, business, government and community leaders to design and deliver objective, multi-sided energy education programs. Energy
Science NetLinks Guide to standards-based Internet experiences Chemistry
National Renewable Energy Laboratory A variety of educational resources about renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies Engineering
Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy As part of the US Dept. of Energy, EERE educates the nation about clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil Energy
Climate Literacy And Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) Reviewed collection of educational resources to can build students’ understanding of the core ideas in climate and energy science. Energy
Energy Kids Kid-friendly information from the US Energy Information Administration Energy
Lesson Plans Directory Directory for free lesson plans, activities and worksheets for K-12 teachers Chemistry
Federal Resources for Educational Excellence Teaching and learning resources from federal agencies Chemistry
NanoSense.org Curricular units teaching nanoscale at the high school level Chemistry

The links below contain a variety of resources to help teachers incorporate energy and STEM education into the classroom. Explore the resources to find activities for students, assessment tools, professional development opportunities and content background knowledge.

Resource Description
Aspire Information about engineering scholarships, colleges and careers for women
eGFI Lesson plans
Engineering education news
Web resources
Professional development opportunities
TryEngineering Lesson Plans
Information on engineering fields
Search tool for accredited engineering programs
Student opportunities
Engineering Magic Lesson plans for engineering ‘magic tricks’
National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) Energy curriculum guides in English & Spanish
Professional development opportunities
Graphics Library
Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Energy lesson plans
Professional development opportunities
Student competitions
National Energy Foundation Links to energy education websites
Professional development
Student competitions
The EnviroLink Network Reference material
Educational resources
Career information
Biofuel & Biomass Energy Science Fair Projects Ideas, Resources and Sample Projects
for Elementary, Middle and High School Students
US National Arboretum “Power Plants Virtual Tour”-Shows plants used for biofuels and explains various biofuel processes
American Chemical Society Chemistry lesson plans & assessment materials
Professional development opportunities
Student programs
Materials World Modules STEM Links
Resources for Materials Science education
Get STEM Links from Minnesota High Tech Association
PASTE Project for Activist Science & Technology