ILLINOIS MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS CREATE A GREENER WORLD--ONE ELDER AT A TIME
APRIL 13, 2016
Editor’s Note: Darcy Welsh, a science teacher at Illinois' Mazon-Verona-Kinsman Middle School, and her students received a 2015-2016 grant through RSC’s Grants in Place program. The students conducted an intergenerational, community-based science project aimed at reducing the energy consumption of elders who live in the community. Participants researched energy saving techniques, conducted energy audits on the seniors’ homes, and created powerpoint presentations on how the occupants can save money by reducing their energy usage. Students also kept journals documenting their thoughts and progress throughout the project. Project-based instruction, community service, and intergenerational collaboration; it just doesn't get much better than this!
Submitted by Darcy Welsh
Take 12 middle school students with little to no knowledge about energy /electric usage and conservation and add 6 senior families eager to learn how to cut their electric usage--what a great learning opportunity! The students couldn’t wait to start the project; in their first journal entry one student wrote, “I’m excited about this project. I want to improve my grandparents’ energy bills cost. This could help them retire earlier!”
Our first task was to learn about electric usage through internet research and testing with the Kill-A-Watt Meter. Students focused research on energy saving measures. Learning how to use the Kill-A-Watt meter was a challenge to some students. We proceeded to test various electric appliances and bulbs. While testing various light bulbs at school the students were surprised at how much energy incandescent light bulbs use compared to both CFL and LED bulbs. Another big surprise to the students was the phantom power draw of electric appliances turned off, but plugged into a power source. One student remarked in his journal that he learned “that you can save more power by unplugging all electronics when leaving a room. I need to work on that!” Another wrote, “Even the little LT computer and TV set” created an energy draw that would be on the electric bill as usage.
Students then took the meters to their seniors’ homes and began testing usage.
The following is a letter to the school from Mr. John Davis coordinator of the program.
Hello School Principals or Teachers
Thank you for having your students participate in the 2016 University of Illinois Government Day.
The youth were well behaved and I hope they found the experience educational and rewarding. The students at the Courthouse where able to take part in a mock trial and those at the county building were involved in a Committee meetings and a mock county board meeting. After heated debate and insightful discussion the youth voted down the landfill. It was one of the most involved student board meetings we have had.
I have attached a picture of your group and hope you will continue to be involved next year.
The following are photos showing MVK students participating in the days activities.
Read more: MVK Students Participate in "Government Day"