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Yarmouth 4th-graders first to use new energy curriculum

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Yarmouth 4th-graders first to use new energy curriculum

YARMOUTH — A new science- and energy-based curriculum for elementary school students was launched last week, and a classroom in Yarmouth was the first to implement the lessons.

Mary Jo Moore, a fourth-grade teacher at Yarmouth Elementary School, was one of the curriculum testers and now her students are using the energy driven science program.

Kathleen, a 10-year-old in Moore's class, said she likes the energy classes and enjoys "learning about ways to save the earth"; Jamie, another student in Moore's class, said he is familiar with energy conservation, but is excited to show his parents new energy tips he will learn.

The PowerSleuth Energy Education Curriculum was developed by Efficiency Maine, a program of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, and the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance. It includes print and multi-media lessons for children in grades 4 through 8. The goal is to teach research-based findings about energy topics and clarify common energy misunderstandings for students. The program also includes professional development training, educational resources, and access to statewide support for teachers.

All of the programs are available to schools in Maine at no cost and can be downloaded at PowerSleuth.org. Teachers can access materials and use the companion Web site for support in the classroom.

To encourage children to have fun and save energy, PowerSleuth the Fox is the program mascot. The mascot visited Yarmouth Elementary last week as part of the curriculum kick-off, and wore a trench coat and carried a magnifying glass to help identify energy conservation and energy waste.

Joy Adamson, education program manager at Efficiency Maine, said the curriculum is designed to address energy needs in Maine – specifically tidal energy and wind power.

"It is important for the students to study what is possible for them in their own state," Adamson said.

Lynn Farrin, science specialist at the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, said the curriculum was developed over three years, and follows the Maine Learning Results and National Science Standards. She said the curriculum uses a supplemental Web site for students and teachers to gain additional information.

"This curriculum is based around hands-on learning," she said. "Each lesson includes awareness building and focuses on ideas surrounding energy efficiencies."

Moore said her students share energy ideas with each other and have enjoyed the Energy Lights Maine lessons they are currently studying. Most are already aware of saving energy, she said – they recycle; bike, walk and car-pool to school and turn off lights when they are not needed.

John Brautigam, director of the energy programs division at Efficiency Maine, said teaching students about energy conservation at a young age will make an impression on them as they age.

"Finding creative, interesting ways to teach students about energy conservation will benefit all of us in the future," Brautigam said. "Teaching curriculum like this will make saving energy natural, a way of life."

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net