Arlington, Va.—August 15 , 2011—U.S. Department of Energy and National Science Teachers Association today announced the kick-off of registration for a nationwide student contest to help families save money by saving energy at home. As part of the Obama Administration’s support for student education in science, technology, engineering, and math, America’s Home Energy Education Challenge (AHEEC) will engage students in elementary and middle schools across the Nation to make smarter energy choices that reduce U.S. reliance on fossil fuels and put money back in their parents’ pockets. This initiative aims to educate America’s youth about the benefits of energy efficiency, motivate students to play a more active role in how their families use energy, and help families across the country reduce their energy bills.
“This exciting competition is designed to inspire the next generation of energy leaders to take simple and affordable steps today that will save money and get them thinking about energy issues at an early age,” said Energy Secretary Chu. “Educating students about energy efficiency today will help them tackle our Nation’s energy challenges in the future.”
“Teachers are always looking for fresh new ways to motivate their students in science,” said NSTA Executive Director Dr. Francis Eberle. “America’s Home Energy Education Challenge is an excellent way to spark the imagination of students, while inspiring them to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
Run by the National Science Teachers Association for the Department of Energy, the program will encourage students, teachers, and families to learn more about energy consumption and efficiency and become more aware of how homes, schools, and utilities are interconnected within the community, while inspiring students to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Registration begins today and ends October 7, 2011. Students, teachers and principals are encouraged to register to participate at HomeEnergyChallenge.org. Participation in AHEEC will be broken into two parts: the Home Energy Challenge and the Energy Fitness Award. Each is designed to encourage students to learn about science and home energy savings, and participants can chose one or get involved with both.
The Home Energy Challenge will encourage participants to leverage the power of school spirit to engage rival schools in a local home energy savings competition and to inspire widespread participation. The Home Energy Challenge involves students and their teachers in the third through eighth grades in a three-month energy use comparison activity in which data from the three-month competition period is compared to the previous year’s energy use for the same three months. The goal is to teach students ways to reduce home energy use and measure their energy savings. Schools of all sizes are eligible to compete because winners are determined by the decrease in students’ year-over-year home energy use, the percentage of class or school participation, and the overall creativity and quality of their local competition. Schools without other local schools to compete against may hold a competition among classes within their school. The Home Energy Challenge officially kicks off for school participation on August 29, 2011.
Competing schools and classes will compete within 11 regions for more than $200,000 in prizes that will be distributed at the regional and national levels of the competition. The first place regional award winners will qualify for the national competition, in which a panel of educators, scientists, and energy experts will evaluate them for national awards.
The other part of AHEEC is the Energy Fitness Award, an individual challenge that will begin September 20, 2011. The Energy Fitness Award challenges students to better understand basic energy issues, provides individual students an opportunity to learn where their energy comes from, teaches them how to use less of it, and rewards them for their accomplishments. Modeled after the President’s Physical Fitness Test, the Energy Fitness Award asks students to complete specific tasks, such as interpreting a home energy bill and learning how to conduct a home energy assessment, and then demonstrate their learning and proficiency. Badges of achievement will be awarded at three levels: Joule, Kilojoule, and Megajoule. The Energy Fitness Award is open to any student or students who have an adult willing to supervise them.
To register to join America’s Home Energy Education Challenge or to find more information, please visit HomeEnergyChallenge.org. To learn more about the steps you can take to make a difference in your home energy consumption, please visit the Department of Energy’s Energy Savers website and Kids Saving Energy website.
The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), www.nsta.org, is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA’s current membership includes approximately 60,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.
Kate Falk, NSTA