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‘Youth Energy Heroes’ Set in Motion

Feb 01, 2016 -

Last summer, you may remember The Environmental Center’s campaign to raise money for Youth Energy Heroes. Our goal? To share energy education with kids and inspire them to conserve energy at home.

Not only is this great for our community, but it’s an important component of Bend’s success in the two-year Georgetown University Energy Prize competition. Now in our second year, the Bend Energy Challenge is ramping up – and student involvement is a crucial part of this effort.

We launched our youth programs in Bend-La Pine Schools at the beginning of January. With the Energy and You education series, we inspire sixth graders to be Energy Heroes through a four-part lesson series.

  • Lesson One: Students review potential and kinetic energy, the forms of energy around us and how they are transformed.
  • Lesson Two: Students begin to understand how we use these forms of energy to generate electricity for our use through a mini group research activity.
  • Lesson Three: Students complete an in-class lab activity to test various electronics measuring electricity. Students then bring home their understanding and perform a home energy audit.
  • Lesson Four: Back in class, students calculate kilowatt hours used in their homes and transfer that understanding to how conservation can save resources, money and help Bend WIN the $5 million prize. Each student is awarded a Certified Energy Hero certificate, and decides on 5 energy-saving actions they’d like to implement at home.

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The Energy and You Series will be presented in every Bend middle school this school year. So far, teachers have loved the science review of the state standards and the hands-on elements brought to the classroom. Plus, students are excited to go home and make changes to be real Energy Heroes!

In addition to this education series, Bend-La Pine Schools is stepping up efforts to reduce district energy use. On January 1, we launched an 8-month competition between schools in the district with a goal to improve energy efficiency through changes in operating practices.

Currently, average annual electricity costs for the entire district exceed $1 million. (Keep in mind municipal energy use is a major factor of the Energy Prize competition!) Over the next eight months, monthly “energy saver score cards” will help schools focus on specific factors of energy use, and aim to involve administrators, teachers and students in working together as a team. Schools with the highest score card points will receive mid-competition prizes.

We’re inspired by the impact made so far, and can’t wait to hear more stories from teachers, parents and students who are joining our team!

For more information about the Bend Energy Challenge, visit www.bendenergychallenge.org. To learn more about student involvement in these programs, please contact Jackie Wilson at jackie@envirocenter.org.

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