Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Green Energy and Enough Stuff

Toddlers in the nursery enjoyed playing in a large crawl-through maze today.

The elementary class was joined by the youth group for a special lesson on renewable energy.

The class made solar ovens out of pizza boxes.

Even though there was not enough sun for the ovens to work, the class still enjoyed a special snack of s'mores--made in the microwave instead.

 Here are a few ideas for extending the learning at home:

Talk about ways your family can conserve energy at home, work, or school.  Explore "365 Ways to Save Energy" for more ideas.  Do you have forms of green energy available to you?  Are there ways you can develop cooperative partnerships concerning energy issues in the congregation, your child's school, or the local community?  Read about the work of Interfaith Power and Light and meet some interfaith neighbors.

Learn how solar energy can change lives around the world.  Find out more about Solar Cookers International, a not for profit organization that "spreads solar cooking awareness and skills worldwide, particularly in areas with plentiful sunshine and diminishing sources of cooking fuel.  Since its founding in 1987, SCI has enabled over 30,000 families in Africa to cook with the sun's energy, freeing women and children from the burdens of gathering firewood and carrying it for miles."  View the inspiring video "A Liter of Light."  Discuss what other things can be accomplished with solar power?

Try some of the experiments from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory website or this web page for kids from Aliant Energy.

The Discovery class heard a story that introduced the idea of a no-presents birthday party.  Talk with your child about what is "enough stuff?"  How does your family celebrate birthdays?  What changes could you make to cut down on the amount of "stuff"?  Check out "Birthdays Without Pressure" on the website of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Nebraska for family discussion questions and more.

Explore the website "Loop Scoops," a project of PBS kids by Annie Leonard, the author of the Story of Stuff.  Or go to the Story of Stuff website to watch the movie and look at the resources for more ideas.