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Tuesday, 13 November 2012 13:40

Summer Institute on Energy Education

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Try as we might, it's hard to imagine a better location than the Audubon Center of the North Woods in Sandstone, MN for our Summer Institute for Energy Education. The Institute, which ran June 16-18, focused on energy sources, uses and impacts and marked the pilot release of our "Experience Energy!" curriculum for grades 3-8. Each morning we were greeted by sun and good food.  Each day was filled with intense learning and each evening concluded with a campfire and laughter.

"Bravo! Best school-type workshop I've ever been to."  - An Educator at the Institute

The Summer Institute Included:

  • An introduction to our new "Experience Energy!" curriculum
  • A copy of the pilot version of the "Experience Energy!" curriculum for grades 3-8 with accompanying materials
  • Guest speakers and experts, including: Will Steger, J. Drake Hamilton, Sarah Hayden, Katie-Mercer Taylor, Bryan Wood, Joe Rand, Emma Shriver and Helen Booth-Tobin.
  • Separate tracks to accommodate two broad groups present at the event: teachers of grades 3-8 and 9-12

Day 1: June 16th

Participants were greeted on Sunday, June 16th with sunshine and a gentle lake breeze.  While everyone was unpacking, the Audubon Center of the North Woods was preparing an incredible dinner and an open bar, in a show of hospitality for the keynote event that evening.  Will Steger and J. Drake Hamilton, (and the meal, no doubt) whet everyone's appetite for the days ahead with their address on the state of renewable energy and energy issues in Minnesota.

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(Left) J. Drake Hamilton and Will Steger and (Right) the keynote audience digests a great presentation and meal

Day 2: June 17th

Bryan Wood, the co-director of the Audubon Center, made a special trip to meet some of us early in the morning for a nature hike around their property.  After breakfast we dug into the training, splitting into two tracks.  The track for high school teachers involved a professional quality energy audit of the Audubon Center.  The track for elementary and middle school teachers worked through key elements of the "Experience Energy!" curriculum with John Smith.  Participants received a tour of the Audubon Center's renewable energy installations and efficiency retrofits with Bryan Wood.

Lunch time included a brief presentation fromhigh-school senior and YEA!MN Co-Chair Katie Mercer-Taylor titled "The Power of Energy Literate Youth".  She shared stories of important teachers in her life - be they at school or at home - and what they did to help her to become the environmental leader that she is today.

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(Left) Katie Mercer-Taylor sharing her amazing story (Right) teachers connecting and collaborating

Later that afternoon, everyone came together for a workshop by Joe Rand of KidWind, a Saint Paul based classroom renewable energy manufacturer and curriculum expert.  After designing and building various windmill blades in small groups, Joe sent everyone home with some basic materials to construct their own classroom turbines. 

The day was complete when Kristen Poppleton gave her presentation and led us through activities about the current evidence on climate change in Minnesota and worldwide.  Then we had a campfire, of course.

Day 3: June 18th

Our final day was marked with a visioning process - an activity that is part of lesson 6 of "Experience Energy!" - wherein  small groups of teachers designed and drew what they considered their collective "Dream School or Nature Center".  The results were inspiring, interesting and varied.  All agreed that with the vision of a dream school, they were excited to help change our own schools to become like that dream.

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(Left) The Audubon Center is on beautiful Grindstone Lake (Right) we had perfect weather for outdoor work 

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(Left) The whole group together (Right) Audubon Center Co-Director, Bryan Wood, giving a tour

(See more of our favorite photos from the event on Facebook!)

Institute Agenda

Sunday, June 16

3:00 PM  Arrive, check-in, pre-test and scavenger hunt
5:00 PM  Welcome to the training and Audubon Center with Kristen Poppleton (PDF, 31.42 MB)
6:00 PM  Social Hour/Dinner
7:15 PM  Keynote: J. Drake Hamilton and Will Steger, introduction by Bryan Wood (J. Drake Hamilton's Presentation PDF, 10.9 MB)
9:00 PM  Closing and campfire

Monday, June 17

6:30 AM  (Optional) Nature Walk with Bryan Wood
7:45 AM  Breakfast
8:45 AM  Morning Meeting

Time Elem/Middle School Track (A) Elem/Middle School Track (B) High School Track
9:00 AM Curriculum Session, Lessons 1-2 w/ John Smith Energy Tour of Audubon w/ Bryan Wood Energy Audit Pt. 1 w/ Sarah Hayden (multiple PDFs, 465 MB)
10:30 AM Energy Tour of Audubon w/ Bryan Wood Curriculum Session, Lessons 1-2 w/ John Smith (continued)
12:00 PM Lunch & Presentation "The Power of Energy Literate Youth" (PDF, 38 MB) by Katie-Mercer-Taylor Lunch & Presentation "The Power of Energy Literate Youth" (PDF, 38.34 MB) by Katie-Mercer-Taylor Lunch & Presentation "The Power of Energy Literate Youth" (PDF, 38.34 MB) by Katie-Mercer-Taylor
1:00 PM Curriculum Session, Lessons 3-4 w/ John Smith Curriculum Session, Lessons 3-4 w/ John Smith Energy Audit Pt. 2 w/ sarah Hayden  (multiple PDFs, 465 MB total)
2:30 PM 2:30 PMKidWind Workshop w/ Joe Rand (PDF, 10.5 MB) KidWind Workshop w/ Joe Rand  (PDF, 10.5 MB) KidWind Workshop w/ Joe Rand (PDF, 10.5 MB)

5:45 PM  Dinner
7:00 PM  Evening Program: “The Carbon, Climate Change and Energy Connection” with Kristen Poppleton, Presentation (PDF, 13.9 MB) and Carbon Cycle Activity (PDF, 876 KB)
8:30 PM  Social & Campfire

Tuesday, June 18 

6:30 AM  (Optional) Nature Walk with Bryan Wood
7:45 AM  Breakfast
9:00 AM  Final Training Session "Design you dream school" (PDF, 415 KB)
10:30 AM  Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) presentation with Emma Shriver and Helen Booth-Tobin (PDF, 2.5 MB)
11:00 AM  Closing/Evaluation 
12:00 PM  Lunch
2:00 PM Departure

Dream Schools Slideshow

Further Resources:

 - Institute Vocabulary (Link): Key words learned and used throughout the training event and the "Experience Energy!" Curriculum.

 - Institute Resources (Link): Resources shared among participants to help one another teach about energy, climate and the environment.

 - More Resources (Link): Here are resources that WSF staff think fit the needs of teaching and learning about energy and climate change.  Some of them were included in the conference folder received by all participants as well. 

Thank you to our sponsors!

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With additional support from:

Kowalskis Joes Chinook Book

Last modified on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 12:30