Bethel School District is fortunate to be supported by an EWEB School District Education Grant. This is the thirteenth year that EWEB has supplied funds that support teaching and learning in the areas of energy and water. This includes the development of educational resources, the delivery of instruction and the involvement of students in real world energy issues and activities.
There are twelve program areas covered in the grant. The connecting pages will expand upon each of these areas and allow staff to request funding, information, or other support. Each school has an EWEB resource person listed below that may be contacted to provide further information.
Kelly Leguizamon’s 8th grade students at Prairie Mountain recently learned all about how windmills work! She gave her students a limited amount of materials such as index cards, skewers, cylinders, corks, and rods with the goal of designing and building a functioning windmill that could convert wind into usable mechanical energy to lift weights. The scientific method was used to conduct trials, change variables and work to improve windmill performance. When all was perfected, students were asked to give a presentation and show how many metal washers their windmill could lift. For some teams, the cup was too small to hold all of the washers! These student scientists definitely took their work seriously and built some very creative designs.
Not all of the science kits are supported with EWEB grant funds. It’s true! The science kits are often referred to as ” EWEB science kits”, however, only 5 of the titles are supported with EWEB grant funds. Those kits relate to EWEB’s priority topics: energy and water. Solids and liquids, Electric Circuits, Land and Water, Motion and Design and Magnets and Motors are all supported through the grant. The remainder of the kits are funded using SPLASH grant funds. If you have ever wondered why EWEB doesn’t offer trainings on all of the kits, this is why!
Eric Wright and Colin Lyon’s seventh grade classes at Meadowview recently had the opportunity to venture into the community to get a first-hand look at what they had been studying in class: renewable energy and its impact on society. Students first stop was Grape Solar, a company that manufactures solar panels. Students were reminded of how solar energy works and learned that enough sunlight falls on the earth’s surface every hour to meet the worlds’ energy demands for one year. Grape Solar’s commitment is to help harness that energy by supplying cost-effective, efficiently delivered, high quality solar modules and to increase the generation of renewable energy.
After that stop, students were bussed to the Seneca Sawmill Cogeneration plant off of Hwy. 99. This business is a wood-fired power plant that generates enough electricity to light up 13,000 homes. The plant burns wood wastes—bark, shavings and sawdust—-to generate electricity. Burning the woody debris heats boilers, which create steam that powers turbines and generates electricity. One hundred percent of the electricity generated by the plant is sold to EWEB and used by its customers. This trip helped students see the importance of renewable energy and the value of clean power!
The room was abuzz as Charissa Nelson’s third grade class tried their hand at creating the brightest bulb possible with wires and batteries. Her class is currently studying the electric circuits science kit which covers things such as electricity and its properties, the study of circuits and circuit building, series and parallel circuits, and switches to name a few. The unit culminates with students designing and wiring their own cardboard house. The enthusiasm and excitement was contagious upon entering the classroom!
Elementary teachers have the opportunity to apply for a mini-grant for up to $500.00. This money can be used for materials, supplies, bus costs and even substitute costs. Projects or activities can include but are not limited to such topics as water efficiency and wise use, water quality, water and wildlife, the water cycle, sources of electricity, energy efficiency, or environmental stewardship to name a few. Applications are online on the EWEB grant homepage and are due by Wednesday, November 7th. Any unused funds will be offered up to middle school teachers for the same purpose. Please contact Cathy Bechen if you have questions.
Did your school participate in the 2/3 discovery lab two years ago? If not, you’ll definitely want to get on board this year. In addition to experimenting with many fun activities such as orbitrons, imaginary springs, straw trombones and thermometers, a new activity has been added called, “Pond in a tube”. Here kids get to make their own little living ecosystem in a tube to take home. Kids love capturing the tiny critters and watching them dart in and out of their elodea. If you would like to host this lab for your school, please contact Cathy Bechen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your students and colleagues will thank you for this wonderful grant opportunity!
Every October, sixth graders get the opportunity to raise salmon in their classroom followed up with a salmon watch field trip in November. During the salmon raising project, salmon eggs are delivered to classroom doorsteps and students learn not only how to care for the fish, but also about the lifecycle and magnificent journey of the salmon.
Then, with professional fish biologists, and other expert land-use and natural resource volunteers, students get to view spawning salmon and learn about the interconnectedness of the natural world. At Whitaker Creek, kids learn about salmon and their habitat by participating in stream side, hands-on activities, conducting field tests and gathering data. Enabling students to witness spawning salmon – one of nature’s great spectacles – coupled with classroom instruction and service learning projects, the program is designed to instill a deeper appreciation and understanding of the value of native wild fish, watershed conservation and environmental stewardship.
Second grade students at Danebo might think twice about what they toss in the garbage these days. A recent trip to the Glenwood dump, the landfill and Bring Recycling was very eye-opening for these young children. Brett Jacobs informed the kids all about what can and can’t be recycled and how if many of us had a better understanding of the waste that occurs and the size of the growing landfill, we might think twice about what we purchase, what container it comes in and what we will do with it once we are finished with it. This trip was a great learning experience for all involved.
Malabon kindergarteners and first graders enjoyed a morning in their gym giving their hands a try at building windmills, little greenhouses, and refrigerator magnets among other activities. They learned about what materials magnets are attracted to, static electricity and how to make a little car go through a magnet maze. Several of the activities were “make and take” so look inside your child’s EWEB bag to see what goodies they brought home.
This year many 8th graders were lucky enough to test their skills at building wind turbines. Many teachers participated in a wind turbine workshop, allowing them the opportunity to teach the unit with their classes. Christina Coombs at Prairie Mountain was one such teacher. She began the unit by giving students a variety of supplies such as index cards, tape, cardboard, balsa, paper clips, corks etc. and instructing them to build a turbine that could lift weight. After that activity, students designed blades and attempted to make the most efficient turbine possible. This was a great inquiry-based unit, allowing for students to test hypotheses and try out different variables. Hopefully next year, every 8th grade student will have a chance to participate in this building activity.