Estes: Powering our future annually reaches 15K students - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

Estes: Powering our future annually reaches 15K students

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Posted: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 6:45 am | Updated: 9:58 am, Tue Apr 8, 2014.

SRP’s Powering Our Future workshops have been powering the future of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in Arizona schools for about a decade, reaching an estimated 15,000 students annually.

Established in 2004, the program focuses on how electricity is generated and how renewables benefit us as part of a responsible energy-resource portfolio. Environmental and energy conservation issues also are part of the curriculum mix.

The program offers workshops for teachers, plus in-class presentations for students. SRP staff and consultants present eight to 10 workshops annually, wherein teachers get a variety of classroom materials and lesson plans. Teachers get a $350 mini-grant for completing the workshop and implementing ideas in their classes.

Mandy Heal, a teacher from Hillcrest Academy in Mesa said the class was invaluable for her and her students.

“This class took my basic understanding of energy production and elevated it to the level that I can confidently teach my seventh- and eighth-grade students,” Heal said.

The multifaceted programs address teachers’ STEM needs in grades 3–12, with curriculum tied to Arizona state standards. Separate lesson plans for third through sixth grades, junior high and high school are available; free course content can be found online at poweringourfuture.com. Content is regularly updated to meet Arizona College and Career Ready Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards.

SRP also facilitates 375 presentations per year to students in fourth through eighth grades. The presentations incorporate the SRP Energy Bike, which shows the different energy required for CFL, LED and incandescent bulbs. The Environmental Education Exchange contracts with SRP to present in-class programs. Environmental Education Exchange is a nonprofit organization that provides programs and services to advance environmental literacy.

For more information about Powering Our Future workshops, visit www.srpnet.com/grants.

• Mark Estes is senior communications strategist for SRP.

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