When K-12 students learn about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at school, that early exposure increases their interest in pursuing STEM careers1. That’s why we developed the BTU Crew - a STEM education program just for K-12 students2.
The BTU Crew transforms schools into living, energy-learning labs – engaging students and teachers alike. The BTU Crew’s easily integrated lessons and activities take a project-based learning (PBL) approach that ask students to identify solutions to specific challenges, helping them understand energy while expanding their analytical and problem-solving skills.
For example, students can learn about renewable energy by constructing a small functional wind turbine or solar device. They can use an interactive energy dashboard to learn about energy use and how it changes based on building occupancy.
These are just two examples, and the BTU Crew program is flexible so teachers can work with students to identify which projects they find most intriguing.
The BTU Crew can support schools in multiple ways. Here are three key benefits:
- Project-Based, Personalized Learning Helps Engage Students in STEM
Research shows that PBL can help engage students more fully in the learning process. According to the George Lucas Educational Foundation, a 2016 literature review found the design principles commonly used in PBL align well with the goals of preparing students for deeper learning, higher-level thinking skills, and intra/interpersonal skills.
“Anytime that you can bring real world and relevant information and see its direct impact in the classroom, learning is intensified in a way that truly inspires growth,” said Blake A. Vargas, superintendent of Caney Valley USD 436, who is rolling out the BTU Crew in his district.
- Offers Easy Integration for Teachers
The BTU Crew modules and interactive lessons were developed by educators through an industry-education collaboration. Trane also supports the BTU Crew integration through its Educators in Residence program which engages former high school science teachers in providing your teaching staff with training and support to help successfully implement the BTU Crew.
- Creates Excitement Around STEM and Other Career Opportunities
The BTU Crew can get students excited about STEM and other career opportunities. For example, students at Beloit High School in Beloit, Kansas, enjoyed an “aha” moment after their data analysis identified that energy spiked during holiday break when buildings were closed. Matching up energy data with the district calendar, they realized that the school had hosted a basketball tournament during energy spike days, despite the building closure. “Now we can really see what’s happening,” explained Dan Whisler, Trane Educator in Residence.
As the students savored their findings, Whisler used the opportunity to help students make the connection to potential future careers in data analytics. “Data analytics is one of our fastest-growing industries,” said Whisler3. “So, these students are learning a skill set that is applicable to a number of different areas.
The National Science Teaching Association4 strongly supports STEM education. Learn how you can help foster STEM learning in your school or district by including the BTU Crew program in your infrastructure upgrade project.
Trane is a strategic business of Trane Technologies, a global climate innovator. Through its Sustainable Futures program, Trane Technologies brings bold action globally to uplift under-represented students through education and pathways to green and STEM careers. The futures of both our industry and our planet demand bold, diverse thinking and we're determined to inspire a new generation.
1 Early Exposure to STEM and its Impact on the Future of Work, 2019
2 When you select Trane to improve your school’s infrastructure, you can elect to implement our STEM-education program. This interactive and engaging resource is available in Grade 4+ and Grade 8+ versions.
3 The Data Analytics Profession And Employment Is Exploding—Three Trends That Matter, Forbes
4 National Science Foundation Teaching Association, Position Statement, STEM EDucation Teaching and Learning.STEM Education Teaching and Learning | NSTA