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Students Learn About Household Energy Use

Jun 1, 2011
Spring 2011

Students in Guy Meader's classes at Augusta's Cony High School were among the first to experience PowerHouse, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute's new STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education program for Maine's 7th and 8th graders. They used their laptops to analyze real home energy consumption data that had been collected using smart meters.

"I saw my students build an understanding of the seemingly invisible power of electricity. They had the chance to apply critical thinking skills to a real investigation and really met the challenge!"

PowerHouse has potential to help Mainers save on electricity. To accelerate its launch, Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund of Tides Foundation awarded GMRI a $100,000 grant. Twenty-three teachers from across the state participated this year, and more will take part in the coming school year. GMRI President Don Perkins reflected:

"PowerHouse leverages 21st century technology to help Maine develop its role as a national education leader. Science and math will become personally meaningful as students challenge themselves, and their families, to understand and reduce electricity use in their homes. The jobs and environmental challenges of tomorrow demand that our next generation be prepared to solve real world problems and PowerHouse puts students in the driver's seat."

PowerHouse partners include GMRI, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance, Maine Energy Education Program, Maine Learning Technology Initiative, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Maine Dept. of Education, Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection, Central Maine Power, and Bangor Hydro Electric Company.