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Outreach event teaches local students benefits of sustainable energy

  • Students at Energizing Our World Saturday
  • Students participating in an activity.
  • Students participating in an activity.
  • Students participating in an activity.

Posted on October 24, 2018

More than 70 middle school students from Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties learned about the impact of energy use and its effect on the environment, during an interactive outreach event October 20 at Grand Valley.

During Energizing Our World Saturday, students participated in various sessions led by Grand Valley faculty members and engaged in hands-on activities to learn about solar, wind and hydro power.

The activities included constructing wind turbines, testing the power of flowing water and the impact of light on solar panels, and hearing from a representative from Holland Energy Park how to make a sustainable impact in daily life. Participating students also learned about career opportunities at Consumers Energy, the event’s sponsor.

Chelsea Ridge, Regional Math and Science Center mathematics program coordinator, said the lessons were designed to highlight the benefits of renewable energy, best sustainable practices and the applications of renewable energy in various fields of study.

“Energizing Our World Saturday is an important opportunity for students to have hands-on experience with labs surrounding the topics of renewable energy in a university setting,” said Ridge. “This experience provides local middle school students an opportunity to see themselves at a university as well as expand their thinking with renewable energy, which I think is unique.”

After the lessons had been learned, Grand Valley students from the university’s Design Thinking Academy helped the participating students answer the question, “How might we share our learning from Energizing Our World with others?” through the design thinking lens.

David Coffey, director of the Design Thinking Academy, said that academy fellows led the students through a “Yes, and” improvisation activity, and then helped them answer the question by identifying who the participants might want to share their experiences with, how they would share their thoughts, and what makes for good conversation.

For more information about Energizing Our World Saturday, visit the Regional Math and Science Center’s website.