Elementary School Pilot Program Introduces Science and Engineering Design Concepts through Renewable Energy Lessons
During the 2011 – 2012 school year, Solar Oregon and 4H Youth Development introduced their energy education curriculum in 12 Clackamas County elementary school classrooms from Molalla to Lake Oswego, reaching 342 3rd-6th grade students.
The 13-hour classroom curriculum includes student-led projects such as measuring household energy use, designing and building solar cars and batteries, and testing insulation materials. The activities are science-based, team-oriented, and relate directly to real-world energy issues affecting students where they live.
Eric Diaz, a 6th grade student at Candy Lane School in Milwaulkie, describes his experience with the program: “During the lessons we got to do a lot of experiments and actually learn how we use resources, how they are made, and the impact that we have.”
The program was designed to increase students’ understanding of energy issues and potential solutions. And the same time, students develop valuable science and engineering skills that meet Oregon Educational Science Benchmarks. Elementary school teachers cite lack of supplies, affordable curriculum or experience with engineering and science concepts as barriers to meeting these statewide education standards. 4H Youth Development and Solar Oregon offers the curriculum to Clackamas County teachers for no charge and provides classroom support to deliver the lessons with 4-H instructors and trained volunteers.
About the Oregon State University Extension Service 4-H Youth Development Program:
4-H Youth Development empowers children to make positive contributions within their families, community, country and world as they lead the way in creating the environmental, social and economic success stories of the future.