An action research into a hands-on solar energy activity, adapted to enhance students’ understanding of selected physics concepts and to advance their awareness of renewable energy
Lane, Jennie Farber
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The present study uses action research to investigate how a hands-on solar energy activity that highlights selected physics concepts could be used to enhance participants’ understanding of physics concepts as well as their awareness of renewable energy sources. Moreover, the purpose of the study was to learn if an activity related to building a model solar car could be integrated into a physics class. Often this activity is extracurricular; therefore, it was performed to assess the challenges, conditions, and benefits of conducting the activity during class time. It was implemented at an international school in Turkey with 14 students. The quasi-experimental research design was used by dividing participants into two groups: a control and an experimental group. Only the experimental group received the intervention which is the solar-powered car design activity. Hence, the researcher was able to compare whether the activity had a better influence on participants’ renewable energy awareness and related physics concepts knowledge by means of a pre-test and a post-test. In addition to the pre-test and the post-test, follow-up interviews were conducted with five participants and an expert teacher. In conclusion, the researcher found indications that the activity may work in a regular physics class. Furthermore, the students who participated in the activity showed improvement in terms of renewable energy awareness and selected physics concepts. Nonetheless, these results only provide descriptive information due to the small sample size and the short period of implementation time which was two weeks; however, this study holds an important place that may lead to a larger study. Through this study, the researcher shared his reflections on the implementation process and developed skills on how to integrate a hands-on into a lesson.
KeywordsRenewable Energy Education