Healthy Neighborhoods/Healthy Kids: H.O. Wheeler Explores Energy

Fifth grade students from H.O. Wheeler in Burlington, VT present their findings from the Community E
Burlington, Vermont's H.O. Wheeler Elementary School uses HN/HK to study energy use in their school community.

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H.O. Wheeler Elementary School
Burlington, VT
United States

In the fall of 2006, H.O. Wheeler Elementary School’s 5th grade class assessed their neighborhoods’ health and safety and improved their community through designing and completing service-learning projects.  Their project began with defining safe and healthy community features.  After identifying energy as a neighborhood feature to research and evaluate, students used energy report cards to evaluate the energy use and type in their school.  Students compiled and presented report card findings and recommendations to parents, school staff and students, and community decision-makers.  To integrate their learning across the curriculum students wrote energy reports and persuasive letters. 

 A highlight of this project was a Community Energy Walk where students went on numerous walks around the Burlington community to visit sites that generated alternative sources of energy.  Sites include:  Draker Solar, Burlington Electric Wind Turbine, and Winooski Hydro-Electric, and McNeel Generating Plant. 

 After visiting with Burlington Electric Department, students decided to host a light bulb exchange program where families could turn in incandescent light bulbs for free florescent ones. 

This project features the use of HN/HK to teach a specific science standard.  Sarah Wolfe-Gordon, the 5th grade teacher, used the HN/HK framework to teach her students about energy by making it relevant and engaging. 

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