Tuesday, May 15, 2018

For Immediate Release

MITS and Mass Audubon Empower Educators to Energize Their Curriculum

Attleboro, MA – Massachusetts middle and high school educators gathered at Mass Audubon’s Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary on April 6th and 7th to explore sustainable energy solutions and charge up their curriculum. During an inquiry-based teacher professional development workshop offered by the Museum Institute for Teaching Science (MITS) in partnership with Mass Audubon, participating teachers engaged in hands-on learning experiences focused on climate change and renewable energy.

Educators examined the science of climate change through hands-on, inquiry-based activities.

In this workshop, participants gained direct experience with using solar and wind power technologies. They used models to demonstrate how the sun supplies energy to the Earth, and how this energy can be harnessed to power a light bulb, a motor, or even a fountain. Putting this information in the context of climate change, teachers made connections to reasons for investigating renewable energy sources that do not produce carbon dioxide. By engaging in activities that utilize the Science and Engineering Practices, teachers furthered their knowledge of where climate change, energy and sustainability fall within the 2016 MA Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Frameworks.

This educator is wiring a solar-powered model house.

The April event was the latest in the Lighting the Way with Wind and Solar: Pathways to a Sustainable Energy Future workshop series. MITS partnered with the Lloyd Center for the Environment to kick off this series on March 17th and 18th, 2017, at the South Shore Natural Science Center (Norwell, MA). At this first session, grades 4-8 educators explored sustainable energy sources by designing their own wind-turbine blades and wiring miniature solar-powered houses. The series continued with a second workshop, held at Mass Audubon Headquarters (Lincoln, MA) on December 1st and 2nd, 2017. MITS partnered with Mass Audubon to focus content on climate change as a driver for sustainable energy technologies.

Participants designed their own turbine blades to investigate wind-powered energy.

In total, over 40 teachers attended these inquiry-based workshops, which aim to boost student energy literacy through teacher professional development. A generous donation from the Dorr Foundation, as well as support from the KidWind Project and REcharge Labs, enabled MITS to provide teachers with kits of energy activity materials for immediate use in their classrooms. Educators involved in these electrifying experiences left equipped with knowledge and materials to empower their students to design sustainable energy solutions.

The next workshop in this series will be held at Mass Audubon’s Acadia Wildlife Sanctuary (Easthampton, MA) on Friday, October 26th and Saturday, October 27th, 2018. Visit http://mits.org/teacher-workshops/ for more about MITS’ teacher workshops.

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The Museum Institute for Teaching Science specializes in providing hands-on, minds-on, inquiry-based STEM professional development for formal and informal educators.  For more information, visit www.mits.org or call 617-328-1515.