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Unique Class Raises Energy Awareness Among Students

Unique Class Raises Energy Awareness Among Students

The Honors Environmental Sustainability class at Absegami High School in Galloway Township, NJ, is one of a kind: all the class units are focused on environmental sustainability, all year long. For the fourth consecutive year, science teacher Kerry Flukey is leading a group of 12th graders through an innovative curriculum – affiliated with EmPowered Schools – to raise student awareness of energy efficiency and sustainability. 

Developed by the Alliance to Save Energy, EmPowered Schools uses a STEM curriculum and activities to teach students about the importance of energy efficiency. The program is conducted through an online platform with video lessons, quizzes and different activities. Each EmPowered Schools team is also given a toolkit with energy diagnostic instruments, so students can analyze energy use of HVAC systems, lighting and appliances to make recommendations for improving energy efficiency.  

“There is no other school curriculum that addresses the topics we cover in this class,” says Mrs. Flukey. “It’s designed to open students’ eyes to the world around them, and to show how everyone can have an impact when it comes to sustainability.”

In addition to completing the designated EmPowered Schools lessons, Mrs. Flukey’s students participate in projects that reinforce their awareness and learning. Each student keeps a personal “carbon journal” to track how much energy they use. In a past group project, students created a visual demonstration of a home designed to be “green,” which featured solar, geothermal and wind power as well as energy efficiency. 

Thanks to this class, “the students are definitely more knowledgeable about the basics of energy conservation,” says Mrs. Flukey. The learning has also “opened up new opportunities for students, which they never knew about before.”

One student changed her future career path after making discoveries in the Honors Environmental Sustainability class: she now wants to study sustainable agriculture after high school. Now that’s empowering! 

EmPowered Schools hosts PK-12th grade schools from across the state. A few spots are still available for the 2022-2023 program – contact Francesca Arato. Learn more online about the EmPowered Schools program from the Alliance to Save Energy.

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