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Targeted at eighth-grade science students, this unit has grown from our recognition that all citizens must have sufficient scientific and technological literacy to make wise decisions related to the energy they use in their lives. The unit includes both basic science fundamentals and engineering problem solving skills that build towards the students' culminating project where they identify and solve an energy-related problem in their own lives. The Energy Systems and Solutions unit follows a widely accepted problem solving method that is based on the fundamental process used by practicing engineers. Students start by defining their problem, brainstorming and exploring potential solutions, test and evaluate their ideas, and ultimately choose the optimum solution which they then implement. The final stage is communication of their results, a skill that is of ultimate importance.
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