PIMMS to Lead Solar Energy, Conservation Workshops

This summer, Wesleyan’s Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science (PIMMS) will offer professional development workshops on alternative energy technologies for Connecticut science teachers.

On March 25, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) awarded PIMMS a contract to design and administer the workshops under CCEF’s Learning for Clean Energy Innovation (LCEI) program.  Two workshops will be held at Wesleyan, and others will be held at other locations around the state.

In addition to administering the workshops, PIMMS will update the program’s solar energy lessons, incorporating operating data from solar panels on schools and other buildings and explaining the important links between energy conservation, electricity, solar energy and wind energy.

” Wesleyan is very proactive in not only using clean energy and conserving energy in its own community, but also in spreading that initiative throughout the state,” says Mike Zebarth, director of PIMMS. “PIMMS is very pleased to have CCEF as a partner in improving math and science education in Connecticut.”

In 2008, CCEF began an ambitious effort to train teachers in alternative energy technologies, launching a pilot LCEI initiative. Initially, a small group of science teachers worked with the state’s Department of Education, experts from the education field in Connecticut, and an education consultant to develop a series of solar energy lessons aligned with the Connecticut Science Curriculum Framework. These lessons, developed as options for the Energy Transformations module of the 9th grade standards, were introduced to teachers at three regional training workshops. Based on the success of these workshops, CCEF has decided to roll out the lessons to other Connecticut cities and towns – with assistance from PIMMS.

“Many of our Clean Energy Communities are asking for more renewable energy information to give to their local schools, and, with PIMMS’ help, we will be able to provide more and better tools,” says Beth Piggush, program manager for CCEF’s formal education initiatives. “CCEF selected PIMMS because of its proven track record with teachers and school districts. We look forward to working with PIMMS to advance clean energy education in the state.”

LCEI workshops are open to any Connecticut teacher working with the 9th grade framework. However, teacher tool kits, which will include lesson modules as well as mini solar panels and wind turbines, will be available only to teachers in cities and towns that have made the commitment to purchase 20 percent clean energy.

For a schedule of LCEI professional development workshops, visit www.wesleyan.edu/pimms or www.ctcleanenergy.com/lcei. For more information on PIMMS, visit www.wesleyan.edu/pimms.