Homeschool Students Feel at Home on the Tuscarawas Campus

Homeschool students felt right at home on campus during the Homeschool Engineering Workshop held earlier this month in conjunction with the engineering department and the makerspace at Kent State University at Tuscarawas.

More than 40 homeschool students from Tuscarawas and Stark counties, aged 5 to 18, participated in the firsthand workshop. Middle school- and high school-aged students learned about fuel cell energy, while elementary-aged school students discovered how propeller-driven vehicles operate, providing all students a firsthand look into the Kent State Tuscarawas Engineering Technology Department's green and alternative energy program and the use of alternative energy to power devices.

Homeschool students in the Engineering Workshop

Under the direction of engineering technology Director Paul Dykshoorn, the group of older students spent time in the engineering wing learning about how hydrogen-powered fuel cells can directly convert chemical energy into electrical energy.

“The students performed a direct experiment where they used electrolysis to separate water into its constituent elements of hydrogen and oxygen,” said Dykshoorn. “The students then took the hydrogen and used it to fuel a fuel cell where they produced enough electrical energy to power a fan.”

In another experiment, students powered a fan with the electricity generated by a solar panel.

“We also discussed the use of hydrogen as a fuel for the STARTA buses in Stark County and finished the workshop with a tour of the campus facilities,” Dykshoorn said.

The younger group learned about powering an electric fan to produce propulsion in the makerspace with Maria Feik, equipment laboratory technician, guiding them through the process. The students designed and built their own propeller-driven vehicles using pieces of cardboard, plastic wheels, DC motors and custom paint jobs. Once their vehicles were built, students were able to test their designs by holding races in the makerspace and down the campus hallways.

Homeschool Engineering Workshop students

Feik also shared with students the pros and cons of the use of propellers as a mechanism to drive various forms of transportation and the reasoning behind it.

“At the end of the workshop, students were all eager to return for future Homeschool Engineering Workshops,” said Dykshoorn.

The green and alternative energy program emphasizes system design, generation, transmission, management and storage of various alternative energy sources and provides knowledge on the workings of alternative energy devices such as wind turbines, photovoltaic cells and fuel cells.

Graduates of this degree program will possess specialized knowledge related to important sustainable energy sources which will prepare them for an array of fast-emerging career opportunities, including in:

  • Energy generation
  • Energy management
  • Electric vehicles
  • Solar energy
  • Wind energy

The green and alternative energy concentration is one of four specialization areas of the Bachelor of Science in engineering technology degree offered at Kent State Tuscarawas. The degree also offers concentrations in electrical/electronics, mechanical/systems and integrated engineering technology, with online options available for all junior and senior level technical classes.

The bachelor level engineering technology degree is ABET-accredited, providing a gateway for graduates to become professional engineers (P.E.) in Ohio. Graduates of this program will be prepared for a broad spectrum of good-paying job opportunities, including positions in project management, engineering economics and industrial safety.

To learn more about the engineering technology degree programs at Kent State Tuscarawas, visit

POSTED: Tuesday, February 21, 2023 11:35 AM
Updated: Thursday, March 16, 2023 07:09 PM
Kent State Tuscarawas