Green School Energy Challenge

Course Number: EDU 5627 C08
Instructor: Mariah Keagy (with support from VEEP Regional Educators)
Location: White River Junction/Randolph area and energy challenge projects throughout the state
Dates and Times: First meeting September 19, 2017, virtual meetings TBD, and energy challenge projects throughout the school year
Credits: 2 credits
Tuition: $750

Note: Please register directly with VEEP. If you wish to take the course for Castleton credit, please notify VEEP. VEEP will then give you the link to Castleton's online registration form.

Course Description

The Green School Energy Challenge (GSEC) is a professional development program in which VEEP provides curriculum resources, equipment, and technical and educational support to teachers who commit to undertaking projects designed to reduce energy use. This academics-to-action program bridges science and engineering with social aspects of addressing climate change, saves money for communities, and empowers youth. Teachers are strongly encouraged to apply for this program in teams from the same school.

Grades 6–12: STEM Project Based Learning in NGSS To take part in this program, teachers must commit to undertake at least one project that will use scientific analysis and data-based decision-making to save electric, thermal, or transportation energy at the school, in students’ homes, or in the community.

Grades 4–6: STEAM Energy Engagement in NGSS The STEAM engagement strand is specifically designed for teachers of younger grades, with less emphasis on data and analysis and additional arts and social studies integration. To take part in this program, a teacher must commit to undertake at least one grade-appropriate project that will raise awareness of energy use and save electric, thermal, or transportation energy at the school, in students’ homes, or in the community.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, the participants will be able to:
● Provide educational opportunities that increase the awareness and understanding of energy use in the school community.
● Initiate team based projects to reduce carbon emissions, carbon footprint, or fossil fuel use by increasing efficiency, conservation, and/or renewable generation.
● Utilize scientific analysis and data based decision making to save electric, thermal or transportation energy at the school, students’ homes, or in the community (grades 6-12).
● Integrate arts and social studies in a grade appropriate project that will raise awareness of energy use and save electric, thermal, or transportation energy at the school, students’ homes, or in the community (grades 4-6).
● Compile, evaluate and utilize available energy and climate resources from VEEP and others.

Course Expectations

Participants are expected to attend one in-person meeting in September and participate in four additional support meetings with their regional educator.

Required Texts

Required excerpts, chapters, or full text of:
2016 Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan. (n.d.). Retrieved January 26, 2016
● VEEP Developed Green School Energy Challenge Curriculum and Playbook- Curriculum guide and curriculum support kit for data gathering and analysis activities on electricity usage, transportation impact, school lighting, and other topics.

Recommended Readings and Other Resources

Community Energy Dashboard: The Energy Action Network (EAN) has created a Community Energy Dashboard to enable communities to understand their energy use and make clean energy choices and investments across all energy sectors: electric, thermal, and transportation. The Dashboard makes energy use across all three sectors visible and understandable to consumers and communities as a whole. The goal is to inform, educate, and engage Vermont communities in energy use, leading to action and documenting impacts. 

VEEP Developed Curricula and Kit Materials:

Wind Works - Hold on to your notebooks! Large fans and demonstration wind turbines unite to create electricity and present the power potential of wind. Students take measurements of wind speed with handheld anemometers and measure the voltage output on specially designed wind turbines. Students then graph the resulting data to explore the relationship between wind speed and power, and evaluate wind power as an energy alternative here in Vermont.
Solar Challenge - Challenge your students to build a collector to boil water with energy from the sun. Students go to engineering school, learn about collector design, and parabolas through hands-on experiments. Student teams design and build solar collectors and compete for prizes in several categories. Materials kit for Solar Challenge includes reflective Mylar, cardboard, and mini-collector patterns.

PVs in Action - Turn your students into solar energy experts. Materials kit includes mini PV panels, motors, and lights (just in case!): everything you need to demonstrate solar power right in the classroom. PVs in Action Curriculum guide has lessons that build on each other.
Modeling Climate Science- How do human activities affect Earth systems? Help your students develop their understanding of factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century with the emphasis on the major role that human activities play. Students ask questions, build models, and engage in investigations and then apply this knowledge to help minimize the risks of climate change.

Other Information

1. In person and virtual meetings – These days will consist of training on NGSS for project-based learning, a GSEC program overview, and a chance to collaborate with other teachers and VEEP staff on project planning. Teachers are invited to bring their project ideas and will leave with concrete standards-aligned lesson ideas and steps for their project. 

2. Energy Challenge Action Plan – The Green School Energy Challenge begins with a teacher (or team) developing its goals for the Challenge. This starts with a goal setting process that includes a Goal Setting Brainstorm to create an Energy Challenge Action Plan. VEEP staff will be available to support projects in the classroom and student learning. 

3. Energy Based Projects - These are projects to reduce carbon emissions, carbon footprint, or fossil fuel use by increasing efficiency, conservation, and/or renewable generation. Grade 6-12 teachers will use scientific analysis and data based decision making to save electric, thermal or transportation energy at the school, students’ homes, or in the community. Grade 4-6 teachers will integrate arts and social studies in a grade appropriate project that will raise awareness of energy use and save electric, thermal, or transportation energy at the school, students’ homes, or in the community. VEEP staff will be available to support projects in the classroom and student learning. 

4. Sequencing Plan- Participants will develop a sequencing plan, lesson plans and/or unit plans that can be shared with other teachers undertaking similar projects.

For additional course and registration information

Mariah Keagy
(802) 552-8674

Register online now!