Classroom Energy Challenge Expands to Three New SCSD Schools
Published on 3/5/18
District News Academics Ed Smith Expeditionary Learning School McKinley-Brighton Elementary School
By Nate Kennedy, Sustainability Programs Associate for Energy Training Solutions
The Classroom Energy Challenge, a program intended to help students learn about reducing energy consumption, has expanded to reach new students! Created in 2014 by the Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board and Energy Training Solutions, the Classroom Energy Challenge engaged students in HW Smith, Frazer, Roberts and Danforth last year. This year, it is at work in McKinley-Brighton, Ed Smith and ELMS.
In Mr. Lounsbery’s class at McKinley-Brighton, students have learned about changes they can make to lower their home energy bill. They also learned about energy conservation and energy efficiency, carbon footprint and renewable versus nonrenewable energy sources.
“Students are talking with their families about the types of lightbulbs they use and the importance of turning off lights, TVs and game systems when they’re not in use,” Mr. Lounsbery explained. As part of Challenge 1, students calculated their monthly household CO2 production, as well as the amount of trees that it would take to offset that energy use.
As these students had recently planted trees as part of a project with Cornell Cooperative Extension, they were able to draw some real connections between energy use and positive environmental behavior. “A carbon footprint is the amount of CO2 a house produces when it uses energy,” fifth grader Quintion McKinney Gadson explained.
“The greenhouse effect is what happens when heat and light from the sun come into the Earth,” classmate Jahmarion Clarke added. “Heat and greenhouse gases get trapped in the atmosphere.”
“The students feel like scientists, using the information they learn in school to make changes in the community,” Mr. Lounsbery said.
As students continue through the Classroom Energy Challenge, they will learn about and experiment with utility bills, lighting, electrical device use, heating and hot water at home and at school. Their final challenge will be to bring it all together, compiling a household report card and energy assessment and writing a persuasive letter to parents and guardians that focuses on how they can increase energy efficiency in the home.