District brings solar, wind energy topics to classes – Today’s News

April 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

District brings solar, wind energy topics to classes

District brings solar, wind energy topics to classes

Janet Cruz/ News-Herald Photo

Thunderbolt Middle School science teacher John Hall works on a display model that is used to teach students about wind energy.



Posted: Sunday, April 6, 2014 12:01 am

District brings solar, wind energy topics to classes

By JANET CRUZ
TODAY’S NEWS-HERALD

Havasu News

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With rising electricity costs today, schools are turning to alternative energy to hold down costs. And students are finding the subject being used as an added topic in the science and math curriculum.

Recently, for example, the Lake Havasu Unified School District has gone to solar alternative energy to save electricity costs, installing panels at the district office and high school.

“I am very pleased we are using solar energy,” said district Superintendent Gail Malay. “We must find alternative, renewal energy sources.”

As early as 2008, Missy Wood, district director of business services, started looking for a way to bring solar power to the district without spending any money beyond what was already being spent. In 2013, the project was completed.

The district said the total project cost $1.5 million and will be repaid with interest over 15 years. Money saved on electric bills will be used to pay for the project. And better, when electricity rates rise, the district won’t see rate increases.

Malay also saw it as an opportunity to teach children about solar alternatives.

Thunderbolt Middle School science teacher John Hall and math teacher Lindsay Bitterman have added solar and wind energy to the curriculum there.

“We spent one lesson plan on looking at how cost effective alternative energy was. We examined how the system worked and what parts are needed to build an alternative source of energy,” said Hall.

“We use this topic not only in science class but in math class as well. Students in the classroom learn about how much a kilowatt of energy in Arizona costs compared to the national level,” said Bitterman.

For areas that do not have a similar climate with sunny skies year around, wind energy is used for power, Bitterman said. “In areas such as Idaho, wind energy is commonly used, they still use solar during the summer months and store it for emergencies.”

Students are given worksheets and charts where they calculate how many panels will be needed in a home, how much wiring is needed and the labor and the cost of installation. Teachers say teaching alternative energy is important for students because it allows them to examine controversial issues that relate to renewable energy sources and multiple perspectives. It will give them a better understanding of the world today.

“We want to expose our students to the subject and perhaps even careers in the alternative energy field,” Malay said. “The panels at the school are also used as a tool to educate our students on solar energy.”

You may contact the reporter at jcruz@havasunews.com


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