Exploring Energy: Teaching the Next Generation
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - One specialized class on the Western Slope is taking kids out from behind the books and putting them in the field to learn about the future of the energy industry. During their tour of the Grand Valley Power Association, students are shown exactly what goes into generating the electricity society takes for granted every day. "We're trying to teach them all about all of our energy resources, how we use them and how they're used to generate power," said Teresa Coons, executive director for the John McConnell Math & Science Center. "We take electricity for granted. We talked about everything that goes into it, such as all the work and how they make it convenient for us, so that we can enjoy it," added Tyler Perez, a junior at Fruita Monument High School. "We talk to actual people in the business instead of hearing about it second-hand," said Devon Edmunds, a junior at Central High School. Its unique to see students so passionate about school, right? But these are no ordinary students. They're part of the Energy Science & Policy class offered at the center. "We learn what we want to learn instead of being forced to learn things. I think it makes you want to learn more," explained Rachel Wall, a junior at Fruita Monument High School. "It really has given me an insight into how the world is outside of high school," added Rachel Osborne, a sophomore at Grand Junction High School. "[We cover] solar, wind, coal, nuclear and hydropower, among others ..." Coons named off. Students get college credit for the year-long course that delves into not-so-textbook issues facing the local community today. "Being mostly science focused, it's really opened my eyes to the policy side of things and how interesting that can be too," said Perez. The class is scheduled to visit the state legislature in April to show how energy policy is created. "[Students will learn] the political and policy background around the choices we make for energy in our communities," said Coons. "You see people against it. You see people for it. And you see people completely unbiased about it," explained Osborne, when speaking on energy development propaganda. The course aims to teach the next generation about the realities and opportunities of powering their world into the future. For more information about this course or the John McConnell Math & Science Center, call 970-254-1626.