IL Wind for Schools Kicked Off 2012-13 School Year at Astoria with Teacher Workshop
October 9, 2012
ASTORIA, IL – Illinois Wind for Schools (ILWFS) — a program jointly administered by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) at Western Illinois University and the Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University — kicked off at Astoria High School this school year with a teacher workshop. Earlier this year, Astoria Junior High School (Astoria CUSD #1, Fulton County) was one of six schools selected to participate in the ILWFS program.
According to IIRA Wind Energy Program Coordinator Jolene Willis, during the workshop, the school was presented with a classroom set of KidWind model wind turbines; a weather station; customized lab activities; and a comprehensive wind energy curriculum to integrate wind energy materials and energy literacy terms designed to supplement teachers' academic goals. The school was provided all training, curriculum and equipment free of charge, she said. The program's purpose is to engage Illinois school teachers and students in energy education, specifically targeting wind energy.
"Illinois Wind for Schools addresses specific Illinois Learning Standards' goals in mathematics, including estimation and measurement, as well as data analysis and probability. It also encompasses specific science goals that include inquiry and design, concepts and principles, as well as science, technology and society," she explained. "In addition to the curriculum and professional-development components, we want to expose the students to the vast array of education and training programs offered throughout Illinois to help prepare them for renewable energy careers. We hope to engage the private sector within each of these schools with a professional from the industry to explore career readiness and post-secondary education opportunities."
Willis said participating teachers are required to maintain communication with Illinois Wind for Schools staff, providing ILWFS staff with evaluation of and feedback from the lab activities, curriculum and equipment throughout the 2012-2013 school year. The program will conclude in spring 2013, she noted.
During the workshop in Astoria, the ILWFS team presented a background of the energy and wind energy industries; fundamentals of wind energy; principles of wind turbine operation; and curriculum and methods for integrating energy into the existing curriculum. Presenters included David Loomis, professor of economics and director of the ISU Center for Renewable Energy; Anthony Lorsbach, professor of science education in the College of Education at ISU; and Matt Aldeman, senior energy analyst at the ISU Center for Renewable Energy.
"We hope to educate students with the knowledge of wind energy principles, thereby positioning the next generation of career and technical professionals to enter the growing U.S. wind industry. We will also provide ongoing technical assistance to Illinois school administrators on renewable energy integration in school facilities," he said.
The workshop agenda topics covered energy and wind energy background; fundamentals of wind energy; information about how a wind turbine works; a KidWind turbine lab activity; energy and wind energy lesson plans; a weather station demo; and information about how to implement energy and wind energy curricula.
According to ILWFS staff, the wind energy curriculum includes lesson plans in five distinct areas: energy and electricity; wind and weather; turbines and engineering; environmental considerations; and economics. This fall, ILWFS staff members will install scientific weather instrumentation on the school grounds. Teachers and students will then be able to easily access data collected by the weather instrumentation using any Internet connection.
Through an application process, six middle and high schools were selected as 2012-2013 ILWFS partner schools.
The 2012-2013 ILWFS partner schools include Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, Chicago Public Schools #299, Cook County; Southwestern Middle and High School, Southwestern Community Unit School District (CUSD) #9, Macoupin County; Riverview Grade School, Riverview Community Consolidated School District (CCSD) #2, Woodford County; Galva High School, Galva School District #224, Henry County; Astoria Junior High School, Astoria CUSD #1, Fulton County; and Plano High School, Plano CUSD #88, Kendall County. (see wiu.edu/news/newsrelease.php?release_id=9729)
For more information, contact Willis at (309) 298-2835 or Aldeman at (309) 438-1440. Learn more about Illinois Wind for Schools at www.ilwfs.org.