Students, teachers attend seminar

14 years ago

    Over 400 enthusiastic young people and their teachers from 23 schools attended a day-long energy workshop at the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Lonesome Pine Ski Lodge in Fort Kent this fall to develop awareness of energy resources. Sponsored by Maine Public Service Company, activities centered around the themes, “Kids Teaching Kids.”
    All Aroostook County teachers, grades 3 through 8, were invited to attend the workshop with a team of five to six students and a mission of returning to their respective schools with a supply of energy materials and the quest to create energy projects. Energy teams develop a scrapbook that contains all their activities that will be judged by Maine Public Service personnel in April. The MPS program is called the BEEP project.
    The ABE Energy wise Program is a competitive program sponsored by MPS to promote and support energy awareness throughout our northern Maine schools. Students will learn about energy during the year and put this knowledge to good use by leading others to a better understanding of the energy situation in their communities, state and nation. The competition will follow the same regulations as the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Program, and there will be several prizes in the four categories of grades K-3, 4-5, 6-8 and 9-12.
    NEED materials were distributed to teachers at the workshop and are presently available at Maine Public Service Company through Nancy Chandler, supervisor of conservation and education services.
    Participants at the workshop experience activities that stressed leadership skills, team building, cooperative learning, creative and logical thinking through the exploration of complex energy and environmental concerns. Students and teachers took part in energy activities and discussions that challenged the participants to think about the dynamic way that energy issues affect all of us and our environment. All workshop activities were designed around the Maine Learning Results and for teachers and their students to recreate within the setting of their own classroom using interdisciplinary skills in math, English, art and science. 
     After welcoming the group, Chandler, workshop coordinator, gave a slide presentation on all the energy resources that the students would utilize throughout the day. The students were then challenged with  “It’s a “Kiss” for the Earth,” an activity that included students having to acquire energy and Earth-saving ideas from fellow students and then matching them up with Chandler’s list. Teams having the most  tips that were not a match from the master list won Hershey Kisses. Some of the other activities included designing and building windmills that could withstand high winds and earthquakes, creating energy collage posters and inventing a gizmo that would turn off the lights automatically. A portion of the workshop for the teachers, “Renewable Resources” — a presentation on the wind projects MPS has been involved with — was presented by Keith Brooks, T & D engineer.
    Entering the twentieth-sixth year of affiliation with the National Energy Education Development Program, many Northern Maine schools have won the competition on State and the national level.   Gateway Elementary School, Madawaska Elementary School, and Caribou Middle School have all distinguished themselves on the State or National level.   NEED links together more than 8,000 schools nationwide through a network of students, teachers, and interested community members who enjoy and value an interdisciplinary approach to learning.  All County teachers, youth leaders, and student groups are eligible for the NEED Youth Awards for Energy Achievement Program.  National winners are eligible to attend the National Awards ceremony in Washington D.C. in June.  For more information on the ABE Energywise Program@ or attendance at the workshop sponsored by Maine Public Service, contact Nancy Chandler at 760-2556.