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Using GRED in classrooms: real data, real energy, real life

What do you get when you bring two dozen smart, eager math and science teachers together with some good food on a couple of Wednesdays in August to investigate an incredible teaching tool? Teaching synergy! 

Members of the Greenhills math and science departments gathered at two workshops in August to develop classroom activities that utilize the Gleason Renewable Energy Dashboard. The GRED (named to honor retired Greenhills science teacher Chris Gleason and her husband, Jim Gleason, who spent countless hours developing it) is located in an alcove off the Junior Forum. It monitors the energy generation of a small solar array and wind turbine on the roof of the school’s Ford wing. Additionally, it monitors the weather with a small station, also atop the school, as well as the temperature of the “white” and green, growing parts of the roof. The GRED displays real-time data on a large flat-screen monitor, and archives the information, as well.

During the two August workshops teachers learned the details about GRED: how it works, what it measures and the data that it generates. Using the data and measurements, teachers developed classroom activities that will allow students to investigate solar and wind energy generation, the function of the green roof, solar radiance and photosynthesis, for example. From the stored data, students will explore mathematical functions and relationships between environmental variables measured by GRED. They will use their “function tool kits” to consider whether the correlation is strong or weak, positive or negative, linear or not.  Groupings of math and science teachers developed shared activities for various grades, in which students would look at measurements from GRED in science classes and then operate with the data in math classes.

IMG_0547With these activities we are helping students work with real data, develop models to explain the relationships between that data and to understand energy generation by non-CO2 producing methods, namely solar, wind and geothermal power. In attendance were Ruth Miller, Bob Ause, Brandon Groff, Todd Gatlin, Julie Smith, Jill Johnson, Deano Smith, Bridget Maldonado, Lisa Flohr, Damian Kahn, Charles Dershimer, Reem Salman, Susan Beamish, Jim Lupton, Alex Monte-Sano, Kathy Hall. Jim Gleason explained how GRED works and advised us. Additionally, Mr. Eric Bruski from DTE stopped by, discussing with us energy use by the school and DTE mobile app tools that could also help teachers.

Funded by the Paulus Faculty Growth and Learning Program, this workshop is yet another example of professional development activity that supports Greenhills’ teachers in bringing quality up-to-date lessons into their classrooms.

— Bob Ause, Greenhills science teacher

Saturday, April 24
Open to anyone ages 16 and up. Limited quantities available.
Greenhills is closed for mid-winter break and will return on Tuesday, Feb. 22.