More than 100 science teachers and technical education instructors attended an “Energy at Work” seminar sponsored by Johnson Controls, the National Foundation for Energy Education (NFEE) and Oklahoma’s CareerTech System.

The day-long interactive workshop was conducted at Moore Norman Technology Center, Norman, OK, and again on November 2 at Tulsa Technology Center in Tulsa.

“The seminar is a response to reports of a growing shortage of skilled service professionals in the areas of engineering, production, distribution, and heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) service,” says David Negrey, Johnson Controls-Unitary Products’ director, technical services and applications engineer.

“We designed the workshop to equip teachers with the tools they need to excite and engage their students in a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-based curriculum and to demonstrate the real-world applicability of a STEM curriculum in the HVACR industry.”

Both seminars featured "Mr. Science," Gerald (Jerry) Katz, president of NFEE. Topics included the structure of matter, kinetic molecular theory, temperature, thermal expansion, heat transfer method and phase changes. Teachers also participated in a number of interactive demonstrations, releasing hidden heat that exist in all liquids, igniting cotton fibers with compressed air and making liquid rise from the heat of their hands. In addition, they met with business and industry leaders over lunch to gain perspective on HVACR industry challenges, career opportunities and successes. Workshop attendees left the session with a teacher manual, three instructional DVDs and a reproducible student booklet.

“We were thrilled with the turnout for this first workshop,” says Negrey. “Our goal was to strengthen the relationship between the HVACR industry and education. Based on the positive feedback we received, I think we accomplished what we set out to do.”