In 2012, the Alliance started an education program focused on teaching young students about energy sources and conservation. The goal of our program is to introduce young students to the concepts of clean vs. dirty and renewable vs. non-renewable energy sources, and to instill a sense of why energy conservation is important for all of our futures. In its first three months, our program reached 12 classrooms and 360 students, ranging from kindergarten to 3rd grade. A group of Tulane student volunteers help to design and run the workshops. We have also brought our educational materials to public libraries, after-school programs, and festivals.
A goal of our program is to bring in fun, interactive, hands-on activities to classrooms to get young students excited about science. For our workshop, our interns helped us build a stationary bicycle that can generate electricity by spinning a motor. Using the energy bike, students experience the effort that goes into powering different types of light bulbs and appliances. The bike generator works the same way as a wind turbine—using mechanical energy to spin a magnet and create electricity. The energy bike allows students to delve in to this concept and understand experientially how energy production works. The DIY-bike generator was such a huge success that the Alliance recently purchased a professional version from a supplier to use in our workshops and outreach!