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Published: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 7:53 AM
Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 7:53 AM
Lights, thermal cameras and plenty of excited reactions! The DP&L and Vectren Energy Fair was an illuminating experience as hundreds of students from all over the Miami Valley gathered on the University of Dayton River Campus earlier this month for the annual Dayton Power and Light Company (DP&L) and Vectren Energy Fair.
Facilitated by the Ohio Energy Project (OEP), the Energy Fair allows 100 high school students to teach younger students, through hands-on exploration stations, about how energy is a part of their everyday lives, and ways to become more energy efficient. This year, high school instructors came from Twin Valley, Twin Valley South, Oakwood, Greenview, McClain, Valley View, Lehman Catholic and the Dayton STEAM Academy. Nearly 300 younger students in grades 4-6 were in attendance from Troy Christian, Kemp, Russia, Ascension, J.E. Prass, and Edison.
>>> RELATED: PHOTO GALLERY: 2017 DP&L and Vectren Energy Fair
“Someday these students are going to be grown-ups and paying their own bills,” said Kara McMillen, DP&L residential program manager. “We at DP&L get really excited when we have the opportunity to educate our future customers on energy efficiency and saving money.”
During the five-hour event, students explored the Energy Carnival, rode the Energy Bike, and experimented with a thermal camera. They learned about the six different forms of energy and the ten sources of energy. Hands-on activities introduced concepts such as: light refraction and reflection, forces and motion, electric circuits, sound waves, appliances and electricity, sound and pitch, and thermal energy.
The Energy Fair is unique and effective because of its “kids-teaching-kids” model. High school student leaders prepared for the fair by attending an Energy Summit, to learn how to teach energy lessons in a way that will excite and engage their younger counterparts.
“For our high school leaders, being a part of the Energy Fair and teaching the younger kids helps to build their self-confidence, their social skills and comfort level with public speaking,” said Catherine Ackerman, a science teacher at Twin Valley South High School.
In turn, younger students get to learn about energy and energy efficiency in a fun, engaging way from high school role models, reinforcing lessons from the classroom.
“This is our third year at the Energy Fair,” said Jennifer Cain, fifth-grade teacher at Edison. “Seeing science in action makes all the difference. The students are totally engaged -- they’re learning and not even realizing it -- and they look up to the older kids so much, they really want to impress them.”
More importantly since coming to the fair, she’s noticed an improvement in her students’ test scores. “The learning definitely is transferring,” noted Cain.
Energy in action
Learning about energy in the classroom can be fun, but literally seeing it in action is thousand-watt excitement. Boundless “kid” energy pedals the Energy Bike, powering incandescent light bulbs, fluorescent bulbs and LED bulbs. The students can actually feel the difference in energy efficiency, many even working up a sweat trying to light up the less-efficient bulbs.
“It was really cool to see how energy is transferred from pedaling the bike to turning on the different kinds of light bulbs,” said Devon Delaet, a fifth-grader at Russia.
Erin Tebbe, a sophomore at Twin Valley South High School and two-time teacher instructor for the fair, was one of four girls selected by Ackerman to actually build the Energy Bike through an annual program hosted by Dayton Power and Light -- wiring everything, from start to finish.
“Building the Energy Bike was such a great experience,” said Tebbe. “I’m really proud of and love being able to share it with the younger kids. They seem to really have fun with it.”
Ongoing commitment to energy efficiency
The Energy Fair is part of DP&L and Vectren’s School Education Program, facilitated by OEP throughout the school year. The school program is part of DP&L’s ongoing commitment to help customers be “Savings Champions” by learning how to save energy and money. In addition, DP&L and Vectren will award $1000 scholarships to three area high school seniors who are interested in careers in energy.