June 27, 2018

Pierce Middle School Clean Energy Activity Day      

Grant Sherman - Cleantech & Water Innovation Fellow

 On April 11, 2018, over one hundred sixth through eighth grade students at Pierce Middle School in Milton, MA, participated in MassCEC’s Clean Energy Activity Day. The students listened to guest speakers, built interactive hydropower and solar energy kits to power various lights and horns and learned about how to pursue careers in the renewable energy industry as part of this after-school event. Pierce Middle School’s Principal, Karen Spaulding, was joined by  Bill White, MassCEC Senior Director of Offshore Wind, and Catherine Williams, MassCEC Senior Director of Communications, who are both Milton residents.

Michael Murphy, MassCEC Director of Water Innovation, and Katie MacDonald, Greentown Labs Director of Strategic Partnerships, gave presentations to the students about clean water technologies and clean energy innovation. Any worries that the 110 middle schoolers would be uninterested in clean energy were quickly eliminated by Michael’s enthusiasm for clean water, which in turn ignited the student’s curiosity in hydropower, wind energy, and solar power.

After the presentations, the students split up into smaller groups. They worked in teams to manipulate customizable circuit boards called SNAP Alternative Energy Kits. The SNAP kits used mazes that capitalized on solar and wind energy to light up light bulbs, sound horns, and register electrical currents. After the challenging process of creating the circuit, the students were ecstatic to see their results. Hydropower Renewable Energy Science Kits were also part of the day. These kits tasked students to build a series of models and experiments to learn how moving water is used for power. These kits eventually powered LED lights. There were many different combinations on the boards and in the hydropower kits and watching the students work through the directions and learn about the potential of renewable energy was fun to see, and quite promising.

It has been a while since I was in middle school, but I was very impressed with the level of interest and energy that the Pierce Middle School students brought to their respective projects. By the end of the day, everyone was a little drained but their circuits were definitely full of energy and their brains were full of new information on clean energy. I’m glad I had the chance to supervise those smart and engaged students. Seeing their drive to figure out the uses for clean energy shows that the future generation realizes the importance of clean energy and that it’s vital to nurture their interest in it. 

MassCEC’s Clean Energy Activity Day provides Massachusetts students with hands-on clean energy, science, technology, math and engineering activities during one-day educational school events. MassCEC awarded Pierce Middle School a grant of $9,600 to fund the event and an associated field trip to Bourne, where they will visit clean energy wind and solar projects at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.