Energy Sustainability in Transportation Systems: Translating Electric Vehicle Research Results to 7th and 8th Graders


Electric vehicles can play a major role in addressing some of the energy problems faced by the U.S., including climate change, dependence on fossil fuels, and air pollution. One major obstacle to this technology is the shortage of engineering talent in the U.S. needed for the advancement of electric drives vehicles. Therefore there is need for more engineers in this field if the technology is to be sustainable. In this paper we discuss a workshop designed to promote knowledge building in the area of sustainability and alternative energy use in transportation, and to stimulate greater interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects particularly in the field of alternative automotive engineering. This workshop took place in November 2012, during "Expanding Your Horizons" (EYH) at Missouri University of Science and Technology. The EYH is a series of hands-on workshops that attracts 7th and 8th grade girls with the aim of fostering interests in STEM subjects and STEM careers. The workshop consisted of two 50 minute sessions of approximately 15 students each and focused on basic concepts of electric vehicles and electric vehicles batteries including lithium which is a key component of lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles. These sessions were based on research conducted at Missouri University of Science and Technology and were designed to make the potentially complicated topic easily understood and accessible to these students. Tests were conducted before and after each session to evaluate the students' knowledge and perceptions of electric vehicles s and to determine the impact of the workshop. Early exposure to meaningful engineering experiences for these middle school students may boost interest and the eventual pursuit of engineering and technology education paths.

Meeting Name

120th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition (2013: Jun. 23-26, Atlanta, GA)


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Energy Sustainability; Engineering And Technology; Engineering Talent; Lithium-Ion Battery; Middle School Students; Science, Technology , Engineering , And Mathematics; Transportation System; Climate Change; Electric Drives; Electric Vehicles; Sustainable Development; Engineering Education

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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