“Great real-world connections and hands on activities kept students very engaged and connected to the topic. Laura is an excellent instructor who brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm with her to the lesson.”
fifth grade teacher who had Electricity & the Environment in their class
“Julian was AMAZING! He was engaging, used grade-appropriate language, and really shared his love of science. He was patient and valued everyone’s input. My class loved him!”
second grade teacher who had Solar FUNdamentals in their class
“Laura’s presentation covered all modalities of learning, especially visual models and excellent hands-on activities. From the first call to set up this program to the last day of this program, things ran really smoothly.”
fourth grade teacher who had Renewables by Design in their class
“The greenhouse effect model is very effective and gives students direct evidence about the effect of greenhouses on temperature. It’s a great way to start a climate change unit.”
middle school teacher who had Modeling Climate Science in their class
“This workshop really clarifies how heat transfers in our lives and why it’s important to conserve our home heat. Excellent visuals and minds-on work that students won’t soon forget.”
eighth grade teacher who had Button Up in their class

 

Workshop Descriptions

Learn more about our hands-on workshops and get grade level, length, cost info, and a handy PDF summary sheet for each workshop below.


Solar FUNdamentals: Light & Shadows  |  grades K–3

Introduce your youngest students to solar energy, light, and shadows with this unit for K–3 that incorporates engineering principles in engaging, hands-on lessons, using NGSS and Common Core as frameworks. The FUNdamentals engineering lessons focus on design with an emphasis on students sharing their ideas and methods. In a lab style environment, students simulate the sharing community between engineers and scientists to create a community of learners. We can train volunteers to lead this workshop in your local community, as well. Solar & Wind FUNdamentals is also used in the TRY for the Environment program, a collaboration between VEEP and UVM Extension 4-H, where teens are trained to teach these lessons to younger students.

  • PDF summary sheet: View & download workshop summary.
  • Grade level: K–3.
  • Guiding question: How do we use sunlight and shade to help us?
  • Length: 45–60 minutes.
  • Cost: First workshop free; $175 per additional single workshop, $325 per day of workshops (ask about rates outside of VT).

Wind FUNdamentals: Using Wind to Do Work  |  grades K–3

Introduce your youngest students to wind energy with this unit for K–3 that incorporates engineering principles in engaging, hands-on lessons, using NGSS and Common Core as frameworks. These engineering lessons focus on design with an emphasis on students sharing their ideas and methods. In a lab-style environment, students simulate the sharing community between engineers and scientists to create a community of learners. We can train volunteers to lead this workshop in your local community, as well. Solar & Wind FUNdamentals is also used in TRY for the Environment program, a collaboration between VEEP and UVM Extension 4-H, where teens are trained to teach these lessons to younger students.

  • PDF summary sheet: View & download workshop summary.
  • Grade level: K–3.
  • Guiding question: How do we use wind?
  • Length: 45–60 minutes.
  • Cost: First workshop free; $175 per additional single workshop, $325 per day of workshops (ask about rates outside of VT).

Electricity & the Environment / Magnetism  |  grades 3–10

Blond girl riding bikeStudents learn about the discovery of electricity and how it powers our world, from Faraday’s Coil to our modern energy economy. Students take turns generating it on their own with different hand-powered and foot-powered activities, including taking a spin on our energy bike. 

At the third-grade level, we can bring a NGSS-aligned Magnetism workshop to your class, in which students learn about magnets and lay the foundation for learning about electricity in later grades.

  • PDF summary sheet: View & download workshop summary.
  • Grade level: 4–10; Magnetism adaptation available for grade 3.
  • Guiding questions: For grades 4–5: How is electricity generated? How can we use electricity efficiently? For grades 6–10: How can humans generate electricity?  How can we use efficiency to decrease  the environmental impacts of electrical generation?
  • Length: 90 minutes.
  • Cost: First workshop free; $175 per additional single workshop, $325 per day of workshops (ask about rates outside of VT).
  • NGSS standards for Electricity & the Environment:

Renewables By Design: An Intro to Energy Engineering  |  grades 4–10

Students are challenged to think like engineers tasked with reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. This workshop helps students develop their understanding of renewable and non-renewable sources of energy and to adapt renewable energy design parameters to produce the greatest amount of electricity and positively affect the environment.  Through a series of hands-on wind, solar, and hydro stations, students test variables, collect and analyze data, and start to construct explanations and solutions from the evidence. 

  • PDF summary sheet: View & download workshop summary.
  • Grade level: 4–12.
  • Guiding questions: For grades 4–5: What should engineers think about when designing solar power, wind power and hydropower? For grades 6–8: What should engineers consider when developing renewable energy and electricity technology? For grades 9–10: What costs, risks, and/or designs should engineers consider when developing renewable energy and electricity technology?
  • Length: 90 minutes.
  • Cost: First workshop free; $175 per additional single workshop, $325 per day of workshops (ask about rates outside of VT).
  • NGSS standards for Renewables By Design:

UPDATED! Button Up: Weatherization & Thermal Energy  |  grades 6–12

IMG_0177

Students consider how they can use less energy to heat their home while still keeping it at a comfortable temperature. Button Up demonstrates the concepts of thermal energy transfer and familiarizes students with different insulation materials and their roles in heat transfer and slowing heat loss. After exploring data from four model houses with various levels of insulation and sealing, students test and investigate the thermal characteristics of insulating and air-sealing materials under different conditions. Button Up for high school also highlights a home heating challenge, where students play the role of new homeowners, researching and “purchasing” weatherization improvements for their new home.

VEEP recommends that middle school teachers follow the Button Up in-class workshop with our new Thermal Energy Extension: Weatherization Design Challenge, an engineering extension that challenges students to construct the most energy efficient model houses they can. VEEP offers use of a curriculum support kit that includes materials to run the extension.

  • PDF summary sheet: View & download workshop summary.
  • Grade level: 6–12.
  • Guiding question: For grades 6–8: How can we use less energy to heat our homes but still keep them warm (and toasty) in the winter? For grades 9–12: If you could make one improvement to slow thermal energy transfer outside of your first home/apartment, what would that be?
  • Length: 90 minutes.
  • Cost: First workshop free; always free for schools with students served by Vermont Gas; $175 per additional single workshop, $325 per day of workshops (ask about rates outside of VT).
  • NGSS standards for Button Up!:

 Modeling Climate Science  |  grades 6–8

Middle school students develop their understanding of factors that have caused a rise in global temperatures over the past century with emphasis on the major role that human activities play. Students test and compare bottle models of two “Earths” — one without CO2 and one with added CO2 — to collect evidence and formulate a claim about the relationship between greenhouse gases and temperature, participate in a brief scientist meeting to discuss their claims, and plan and carry out a new investigation.The workshop incorporates NGSS practices and core ideas, and skills such as asking questions, specifying relationships between variables, and clarifying arguments and models are highlighted. 

  • PDF summary sheet: View & download workshop summary.
  • Grade level: 6–8.
  • Guiding question: What is the relationship between greenhouse gases and our planet’s average temperature?
  • Length: 90 minutes.
  • Cost: First workshop free; $175 per additional single workshop, $325 per day of workshops (ask about rates outside of VT).

Smart Technology & Climate Change  |  grades 9–12

smarttech-balloonsHigh school students explore electricity use and smart meters to answer this question: How can new technologies in electrical metering reduce electrical usage and subsequently reduce CO2 emissions? Students measure power and calculate electrical energy usage of a variety of small appliances and create connections between electrical usage, electrical generation and related carbon dioxide emissions. Students are then introduced to the newest technology in electrical metering and are given the opportunity to examine the applications and implications of this new technology.

  • PDF summary sheet: View & download workshop summary.
  • Grade level: 10–12.
  • Guiding question: What are the costs of home electrical usage and how should wireless technology reduce these costs?
  • Length: 90 minutes.
  • Cost: First workshop free; $175 per additional single workshop, $325 per day of workshops (ask about rates outside of VT).

Green Energy Careers  |  grades 10–12

Give your students a hands-on overview of the tools, concepts and pathways that lead to careers in renewable energy generation and energy efficiency. In the first part of this workshop, students manipulate photovoltaics and wind generators to figure out optimal design and installation for power generation. The second part introduces tools and concepts in energy efficiency careers, specifically thermal and lighting efficiency. In conclusion, students interact with informational materials addressing the future of green careers and explore the specifics of various career pathways. An informational packet including certification, licensure and education programs will be provided to participating classrooms, enabling easy follow-up for interested students.

  • PDF summary sheet: View & download workshop summary.
  • Grade level: 10–12.
  • Guiding questions: What is the state of the green energy sector, what careers exist, and what skills are useful to be involved in the industry?
  • Length: 2.5 to 3 hours; can be delivered in two separate sections, or chosen as a 90-minute session focusing on either renewable energy or energy efficiency.
  • Cost: First workshop free; $175 per additional single workshop, $325 per day of workshops (ask about rates outside of VT).