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Teacher Programs

Photo of three men and one woman looking at a table with instruments, wires, and a bright light.

Energy Institute participants measuring the voltage and current output of solar cells to determine the solar cell's efficiency.

NREL promotes excellence in teaching and learning and contributes to improving critical elements of the science, mathematics, and technology education system. Teachers are offered research and development opportunities to enhance their content knowledge, instructional strategies, and leadership abilities.

Visiting Faculty Program (VFP)

Visiting Faculty Program (VFP), seeks to increase the research competitiveness of faculty members and their students at institutions historically underrepresented in the research community in order to expand the workforce vital to the Department of Energy (DOE) mission areas. As part of the program, selected university/college faculty members collaborate with DOE laboratory research staff on a research project of mutual interest. Faculty member participants may invite up to two students (one of which may be a graduate student) to participate in hands-on research at NREL during the summer.

For more information about the VFP program, contact Linda Lung.

Photo of a group of men and women who are standing on and near a blue drawing on the floor.

Energy Institute participants model current and voltage electrical concepts, using pretzels and a large electrical circuit schematic.

Energy Institute for Teachers

The NREL Energy Institute for Teachers is a five-day workshop that offers educators lessons and resources to integrate renewable energy and energy efficiency components into existing courses in subjects ranging from chemistry and physics to biology and environmental science classes.

During the week-long workshop, teachers participate in a variety of activities tied to NREL research including:

  • Building and testing wind turbine blades utilizing multi-meters and water pumps
  • Testing solar panels creating current voltage curves using rheostats and multimeters
  • Determining the optimum form of lighting based on the bulb's brightness, its cost and its power requirements
  • Chemically producing biodiesel fuel and performing quality control viscosity tests
  • Meeting scientists and touring the world class facilities at National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Program Requirements

  • Participate in the 1 week summer program.
  • Implement one lesson in the fall 2016 or spring 2017.
  • Receive a stipend of $250 for the 1 week program.
  • $250 for submission of completed lesson plan.
  • $300 follow-up fall implementation.
  • Receive resource books and materials.
  • Receive credit, which is available through Colorado School of Mines.

If you are interested in applying, contact Madison Martinez.

Visit the Energy Institute for Teachers Lessons to find more education resources for teachers.