School district experience has demonstrated that faculty and student activities outside the classroom -- energy/sustainability clubs, interaction with building and facility staff who implement clean energy improvements, other organizations that translate the lessons of clean energy into clear messages for K-12 students -- can have real impact on energy education and literacy. Some of the energy education case studies on this website are powerful examples.
Here are some ideas from educators - people outside of DOER with a deep-seeded interest in energy and sustainability education - of resources to educate out students beyond the walls of the classroom. If you discover new avenues to deliver clean energy lessons, please let us know.
Energy conservation presents a compelling and rich opportunity for K-12 schools, and there is new interest in behavior-based initiatives that involve faculty, staff and students in changing the culture of their school. The Center for Green Schools at U.S. Green Building Council released a toolkit that follows the experiences of five public schools that have reduced electricity use by an astonishing 20 to 37 percent through behavior-based strategies alone. The paper, looks to these schools as models for others and examines common strategies for every school to reduce its energy usage.
Clean Energy / Sustainability Clubs
Students collaborating outside the classroom in a club setting can have a significant impact on other students' awareness of the importance of clean energy and its effect on their school. It just takes inspired students -- often helped along by an inspiring staff member. The Acton Public Schools / Acton-Boxborough Regional School District provide a great example of the effects that student involvement in energy and sustainability can have, though clubs are only one dimension of this districts' activities.
Blending the best of science, children’s and environmental learning centers, The Discovery Museums in Acton, Massachusetts is an integrated, welcoming, fun, and exciting campus, where play rules, leading to hands-on discovery both for our visitors and in other centers of learning in our communities. The Museums continue to grow its emphasis on sustainability and clean energy, exemplified by its Dream Green exhibit that explores insulation and heat energy transfer using special thermal imaging cameras. The Discovery Museums offer special visits and programs for schools and other organized groups.
Green Apple is an initiative of the Center for Green schools at the U.S. Green Building Council to put all children in schools where they have clean and healthy air to breathe, where energy and resources are conserved, and where they can be inspired to dream of a brighter future. Green Apple gives individuals, companies and organizations the opportunity to transform all our schools into healthy, safe, cost-efficient and productive learning places. The Green Apple initiative is powered by volunteers who participate in community-based effort.
The Green Cup Challenge™ starts with dedicated green teachers and students. The GCC invites all schools -- public and private, day and boarding schools -- to measure and reduce campus electricity use and GHG emissions, and supports campus greening efforts including recycling and water conservation. The Challenge empowers students and builds community, while raising awareness about climate change and the importance of resource conservation.
The Green Team is an environmental club for Massachusetts students, grades kindergarten through twelve, sponsored by Mass. EEA and MassDEP. It is an interactive educational program that empowers students and teachers to help the environment through waste reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, energy conservation and pollution prevention. Green Team participants receive educational tools, such as a classroom poster, lesson plans, recycling tips and suggested activities, and are eligible to win awards.
Mass Audubon's wildlife sanctuaries throughout the state protect important habitat for wildlife, most are open to the public and provide a variety of opportunities for you to enjoy nature. Our sanctuaries, many of which are "going green," represent some of the most spectacular habitats in Massachusetts, ranging from beaches and salt marshes on Cape Cod to woodlands and mountains in the Berkshires. Mass Audubon is leading by example to reduce the threat of climate change by reducing our energy usage and demonstrating the use of renewable energy technologies.
A statewide environmental education program for high school age young people and their advisors. network includes scientists, educators, local officials, policy-makers, business people, resource managers, community activists, and parents who are committed to preparing the next generation of environmentally literate citizens and professionals. Envirothon teams representing schools and community organizations prepare through the year for a statewide event in May that tests their knowledge of forest, wildlife, water, and soil resources, and current environmental issues.
A field trip to the Museum of Science can complement and reinforce your school curriculum while also providing an ideal way to encourage students to have fun while learning. A visit focused on energy enables students to investigate current energy issues while learning about the power of renewable energies, or discover how tiny technologies can provide larger energy solutions. A climate change field trip explores the causes and potential impact of climate change and considers energy efficiency and emissions-saving alternatives.
Content provided by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources