Are you looking for educational programs that provide opportunities for your students to apply math and physical science skills to real life problem solving? What if those programs also have the potential of saving your school money while at the same time helping the environment? If this sounds interesting, you will want to learn more about the Savings Through Energy Management Program (STEM), Watt Watchers, Poss' Energy Posse, and Energy UUUU programs.
The STEM program trains teams of students (grades 7-12) to conduct thorough energy audits of their schools. More than 35 New Hampshire schools have participated in the STEM program in the last several years, all with financial support from the Governor's Office of Energy and Community Services (ECS). Award certificates from this office and signed by the Governor are presented to all STEM students at the school board meeting at which the students present their final report. In five separate sessions, STEM students are introduced to R and U values, heating and cooling systems, energy conservation strategies, environmental impact of fossil fuel use, heat loss calculations and more. The students then apply this knowledge by conducting a complete audit of the building and preparing a report for presentation to the school board. During the audit the students will study blueprints, meet with utility representatives, and sometimes even conduct an infrared scan of the building. The final report is a convincing, well-documented assessment of the building's energy use and opportunities for improvement. ECS has also helped develop an innovative new program in which students who have taken the STEM course conduct energy audits of small businesses in their community.
Watt Watchers is a two day program similar to STEM but for students in grades 5 and 6. The program teaches students about electricity - how it is generated and used, how it is measured, and how it may be wasted in their school. A cost/benefit analysis of different types of light bulbs is included as well as use of professional light meter. Participants work in small groups to find "opportunities" to save electricity in the school, to gather needed data, to calculate the energy and dollars that could be saved by correcting the problems, and to learn about the environmental impacts of energy use. Watt Watchers also prepare a final report that they present to their school's principal and custodian. Schools participating in Watt Watchers have found significant savings in their electric bills and noticeable improvement in the academic performance of the students involved.
Poss's Energy Posse is for grades K-2. Sheriff Occupossum or Poss, an opposum puppet, and an instructor introduce energy concepts, teach students about "energy rustlers" (Heat Loss Harry, Light Bulb Louie) and lead a round up of the rustlers who operate in the school. The children and Poss then figure out ways to reform the rustlers so they will stop wasting energy.
Energy UUUU is a full day program for students grades 3 and 4 and their teacher. The theme of the program is "We understand it is up to us to use energy wisely." Students use science and language skills and concepts as they learn the importance of energy in their lives. The program includes a tour of the school building to learn how energy is used.
Funding for all four programs is generally provided by the Governor's Office of Energy and Community Services, the participating school (amount negotiable) and, where possible, a local utility. Instructors for all programs are provided by Wilson Educational Services, Inc.
If you would like more information on these creative energy education programs, contact
Fuel Vehicle Project / Building Energy Conservation Initiative
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