By Frank Kourt
Waco Elementary School hopes to maximize the efficiency of energy use in its classrooms by harnessing the natural energy, exuberance and enthusiasm of its fifth graders.
On Friday, 78 fifth graders assembled to present their energy research projects to a group of community judges who evaluated them, an evaluation which will help narrow down the 20 or so who will present the results of an energy audit to the school’s site-based decision making (SBDM) council.
The council will then use them as it considers ways to make the school use energy more efficiently.
According to fifth grade science teacher Amanda Prewitt, who coordinated the project, the students conducted a week-long energy audit of the school’s classrooms, which included recording measures of temperature, humidity, light and kilowatt usage.
The fifth graders then wrote a proposal that will be presented to the school’s SBDM council next month.
Yesterday’s exercise, in which all the students presented their research into forms and sources of energy, will be used to narrow down the group that will make the presentation of the energy audit.
The students gathered in the school cafeteria, and the judges talked with each group of students about their research.
The students looked into 10 different energy sources, from traditional ones such as fossil fuels and even nuclear energy, to renewable sources such as wind and solar.
Prewitt said she will use the judge’s evaluations to select a group of students who will present the results of their energy audit to the SDBM council.
Following the judging phase, students from other grades in the school got a chance to see the various projects for themselves. About 30 projects were represented.
The judges included: Jim Newby, Richmond city commissioner; Madison County 4-H agent Scott Darst; Jim Larsgaard and Steve Prewitt, both of the EKU College of Justice and Safety; Tom Mitchell and George Rangel, of the engineering firm of Bechtel Parsons Bluegrass; Whitt Pennigton of the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project; Devonna Abner, Madison County gifted and talented teacher; and Bill Beard, EKU student teacher advisor.