Student Skits Teach Energy-Saving Tips

By Joe Nelson, San Bernardino County Sun, Calif.

Jun. 7–HIGHLAND — You can bet that students at St. Adelaide School can tell you how wind, water and the sun produce energy in ways more environmentally friendly than those nasty fossil fuels.

They proved it Wednesday during the school’s first-ever Energy Follies, a one-hour performance of skits and songs reflecting what they’ve learned this year about energy conservation and alternative energy sources.

Windmills crafted from PVC pipe and balsa wood spun on stage as kindergartners sang “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

Several skits centered around the Peanuts gang waxing pragmatic on a variety of energy-saving practices, like how a fluorescent light bulb is four times more energy efficient than an incandescent light bulb and how consumers can save money on their electric bills for every degree they lower their thermostat during the winter.

“I liked the windmills,” said 10-year-old fourth-grader Denny Nguyen, who played Charlie Brown in one skit, referring to how much he enjoyed learning about wind energy. “They can make a lot of voltage.”

Ten-year-old fourth-grader George Sanchez also played Charlie Brown in a skit. He was fascinated by how far one aluminum can can go in the world.

“One soda can can power a television for three hours,” he said.

The performances were made possible with a $10,000 grant from the BP Group and the Manassas, Va.-based National Energy Education and Development Project, a nonprofit promoting the teaching of energy sources and their impacts on science, the economy and the environment, said second-grade teacher Inez Smith, who coordinated the Energy Follies.

She said teaching science has never been so easy. Using materials and curriculum purchased from The NEED Project enabled Smith’s students to learn about solar cells by making solar-powered boats out of water bottles, small electric motors and solar panels.

“It made it an absolute piece of cake,” Smith said of the curriculum.

Students in science teacher Mary Pettitt’s classes learned how geothermal energy is still used to heat buildings in San Bernardino, and how steaming water from the Arrowhead Hot Springs is a provider of that energy. The billows of white steam frequently seen ascending from storm drains across San Bernardino serve as a reminder, she said.

“San Bernardino is one of the earliest cities to have used that power,” Pettitt said.

Such energy sources are worth the additional cost, she said.

“It’s expensive to start with, but the savings in the long run are just incredible,” she said.


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