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Investigating Energy at Pattonville Schools

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Students in the Pattonville School District are becoming “energy investigators” with the help of EarthWays Centers education team. As part of their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, Pattonville invited EarthWays staff to work with students to develop a comprehensive curriculum that includes mapping out an energy lesson plan and teaching the students about energy: where it comes from, how it fits into our everyday lives, and how it impacts the environment.

Starting this semester, EarthWays worked with teachers at Remington Traditional School (Gr. K-8). Simon Warren, Education Coordinator, feels that the program is guiding the students on the right path and helping grow strong thinkers. “Now as much as ever, we need people who can think for themselves, who can ask questions, compile the evidence and data, interpret what data means, and start making solutions.”  The program is not designed just for kids who are on a path to becoming mechanical engineers or chemistry researchers. “Everyone needs to be able to think like a scientist or an engineer in order to have a positive impact on the world,” says Warren, who sometimes works in the classroom with the students. “By looking at the whole system of energy and energy consumption, the teachers at Pattonville have been able to get their students to understand their own strengths, which is how it works in real life. They are also focusing heavily on defining the problems and designing solutions, the beginning and the end of the process, which is great for getting as many kids on board as possible.”

The 7th and 8th grade students started by learning the basics of energy: the different types ( kinetic vs. potential, or electrical, heat, sound, etc) how energy gets transformed, and how it fits into our everyday lives. Following this, students had hands-on opportunities to explain sustainability for themselves, conduct energy audits of different parts of their school building, build and test wind turbines, use solar energy to cook s’mores, and understand how burning coal leads to electricity that we use in our homes. EarthWays education team helped students discover the value of energy efficiency, and start to come up with solutions that they will design, test, and implement. Later this spring they are planning their own unique projects to bring Earth Day alive at the school throughout the month of May.

For more information, contact Kat Golden, Sustainability Education Manager at (314) 577-0207 or Simon Warren, Education and Volunteer Coordinator at (314) 577-0281. For an overview of our opportunities for PK-12 schools and universities click here.
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