BY KELLY MADSEN | IOWA ENERGY CENTER
Iowa Energy Center staff members, Chad Cook and Keith Kutz, helped Ames elementary students connect their classroom lessons on energy to real life by demonstrating how wind and solar energy are produced.
The education and outreach opportunity was part of “Kids on the Byway”, a natural resources educational program developed by Prairie Rivers of Iowa Resource Conservation and Development, Inc. The mission of the program is to provide authentic learning experiences that foster environmental stewardship and responsibility.
“Field trips and programs like ‘Kids on the Byway’ are important because they immediately set the stage for energy awareness and understanding as students are beginning to learn about science,” said Mr. Kutz, research administrator at the Iowa Energy Center.
During the presentation, students watched how model solar panels and wind turbines create power. Actually seeing how sunlight and wind can generate electricity helps supplement textbook readings and classroom lessons, Mr. Kutz said.
The demonstration engaged about 90 students from both fourth and fifth grade classes from Kate Mitchell Elementary School, ten parents, and four teachers who attended the field trip. While the trip was designed for students, it was a learning experience for everyone who attended.
“‘Kids on the Byway’ is in its pilot year, and our hope is to replicate this program at other locations throughout the state,” said John Mazzello, program coordinator from Prairie Rivers of Iowa Resource Conservation and Development, Inc.
“Kids on the Byway” is supported by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Conservation Education Program (REAP) and Alliant Energy Foundation. The program supports environmental, agricultural, and historical education; and coordinates field trips for students to the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway to provide authentic learning experiences.
Click here for more information on the Prairie Rivers of Iowa Resource Conservation and Development, Inc. or visit the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway Facebook page.