“Energy Transformers”: staring from “scratch” for students of grades 7 & 8


It all started from a reflection: “how do we involve our students in a real problem such as that of energy“, through the course of Technology? It would be very interesting for students to actively participate in the creation of real constructions, where they would study the forms of energy and their conversion.

This idea, integrated into the most important trends of the time, was developed in the European research project “STEM4ALL”. After the necessary analysis and design, the idea was adapted to the “Theoretical Framework” of the project (with corresponding lesson plans evaluated). The environment of a playful and attractive lesson on energy transformation (fossil fuels, alternative and renewable energy sources) and energy transfer, transformation, and conservation on earth and in space was created, with videos, simulations, energy conversion board game and energy conversion constructions (“Energy Transformers”).

The pilot phase of the project was implemented in groups of 3-5 students in the 10 classes of 7th Grade, starting from early December 2022, until the end of classes in May 2023, by the two teachers of the course, M. Mogios and S. Makrillos, the significant contribution of the Research – Innovation Department with G. Kotsanis and the Department of Digital Education with G. Tsigos. The “Engineering Design Process” model was followed with indicative phases:

  1. Video screenings, to convert the action by asking students questions and answers (where possible).
  2. Exploration and experimentation with energy conversion simulations, and useful conclusions discussed in class.
  3. Creation of a game by the students themselves with “Energy Cards”, who played in groups an original board game for energy conversion (showing either the energy conversion from an object they use in their daily lives, or the energy cycle).
  4. Presentation of a hybrid prototype construction, an electric car, where it uses chemical energy through battery assembly and solar energy through photovoltaic panels, to have the stimulus for the next action.
  5. Creation of construction in stages, with formulations of relevant questions, by groups of 3-5 students, with low-cost materials given to them in class with:
    • a brief presentation of the materials and how they can use them,
    • description and design of their own construction inspiration, on a worksheet, noting the materials they chose,
    • discussion of students’ ideas classified according to their originality,
    • construction steps
    • presentation of the construction to groups of students or teachers.

After the completion of the students’ constructions, an exhibition was held at the Technology Laboratory where all classes of the middle school had the opportunity to see, observe and comment on the exhibits, and a relevant informative “stand” was posted at the entrance of the middle and high school.

Finally, at “Education without Borders” the constructions were presented successfully by students to the Belgian team of the large educational organization GO! who visited our School, 4-6 May 2023.

In conclusion, it is now a best European practice on  the platform of the  STEAM4ALL project and will be included next year in the Technology courses of the 7th Grade. It is particularly important to mention that all students worked and enjoyed this new process this year, sharing with their parents what they did in the Technology class. As a result, we received praise from the parents of the students, some of whom, of their own accord, visited us at school to see their children’s works. In fact, one mother, conveying her enthusiasm and many congratulations to the implementation team, characteristically said: “That is, they started from scratch…“!