Hands-On, Minds-On Education

VEEP takes a hands-on, minds-on approach to education. Our programming puts scientific materials and engineering equipment in students’ hands so that they can make predictions, test their assumptions, and make claims from evidence. Our approach is consistent with the kind of education John Dewey had in mind when he wrote, “We learn by doing, but only if we reflect on what we have done.”

Our Approach and the Next Generation Science Standards

VEEP’s programming is also aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, which have been adopted by the Vermont Agency of Education to guide science learning in K–12 classrooms in Vermont. We help teachers learn about and meet the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards. We recognize that teachers have a sometimes overwhelming amount of requirements for what they must accomplish in the classroom. Our programs help teachers deliver these requirements rather than being just another “add-on” to what they are trying to accomplish.  


VEEP’s Core Programs

Students at Milton Elementary School explore Renewables by Design.

Programming directly for youth

  • In-class workshops: VEEP’s regional educators bring hands-on, minds-on educational workshops directly to K–12 classrooms around the state.
  • Youth Climate Leaders Academy: VEEP supports teens in grades 9-12 in planning and carrying out a climate action project in their school or community.
  • Teens Reaching Youth for the Environment (TRY), Renewable Energy program: Teens in grades 7–12 are trained to teach a six-lesson unit on renewable energy to students in grades K–3 through a partnership between the UVM Extension 4-H Youth Leadership program and VEEP. Learn more at the UVM Extension website.


Teachers get hands-on at a climate change training.

Teachers build models that they will later lead for students at a training on climate change.

Professional learning and support for teachers 

  • Teacher trainings: VEEP offers professional learning opportunities to teachers in a variety of venues and formats.
  • Curriculum units: VEEP has developed standards-based curriculum units, and we support teachers in bringing these units to their students through trainings, materials, and follow-up support.
  • Curriculum support kits: VEEP’s kits of equipment and materials are available to Vermont schools for a small upkeep and restocking fee (which can be waived if it is a hardship for the school).


Students fine-tune solar cars with VEEP educator Laura MacLachlan at a community event.

School-wide and community programming

  • Green School Energy Challenge: VEEP works with Green Teams at Vermont schools to help them learn about energy use in their school and design and execute projects that will save energy.
  • Community Events: VEEP can bring hands-on activities for kids to energy fairs and community events around the state. Contact us to schedule an event.