A new program is helping hundreds of local students learn about energy conservation and nudging their parents to save energy in their own home.
At least five schools across the county have participated in My Energy Kit. The program is sponsored by Duke Energy and performed by actors from the National Theatre for Children. Students at some Franklin, Greenwood and Center Grove elementary schools have seen the presentation.
Actors play out a scenario during an in-school demonstration and then students and their families can follow up on what was learned by getting energy saving kids from Duke Energy. Each kit comes with weather strips, LED lights and other energy saving devices, such as shower heads that save water.
Schools in the county bring the program to their students to help them through hands-on learning that can be followed up on at home. And educators are always trying to find way to bring more social studies and science lessons to students, said Crystal May, school counselor at Needham Elementary School.
“We thought this would be an entertaining way to teach science to kids,” she said.
Elementary school presentations feature a cooking show where the contestants have lost power. The actors then role play and teach the students the importance of conserving energy and what they can do to help the environment, May said.
Students respond better and remember what they are taught from the in-school presentation, said Amber Ploutz, second grade teacher at Isom Elementary School.
“It is a fun and interactive way to introduce these concepts to students,” she said. “It is always nice to have something like this that is out of the box so we can reinforce the standards.”
Having demonstrations at the school helps teachers fill curriculum gaps, May said. Most classes only get an hour to cover both science and social studies classes daily and will often trade off weekly between science and social studies. English and math classes each get an hour and a half daily.
Educators are always looking for new and interesting ways to teach students, including bringing in people from outside the school to teach, she said.
Lessons they learn during the presentation are then followed up on when families receive the energy kits in the mail, Ploutz said.
The kits, which families receive in the mail, will typically help the students remember what they learned, which further strengthens the lesson, she said.
“To make something stick, you have to make it hands-on,” she said. “You are not sitting there with a textbook in your lap learning about reading.”