Energy is our Future: Contributing towards a better world
Josephine Ebejer Grech teaches biology at "Dun Guzepp Zammit Brighella" Boys' Junior Lyceum Hamrun in Malta. She shares her experience with the Energy is our Future project. She also describes the project impact on changing students’ and parents’ behaviour in terms of energy saving.
I introduced the project in my school, by visiting each classroom and spending about 15 minutes describing the competition. I distributed handouts to every student and we read them out together to make sure that everyone understands what was written. Basically the content of the handouts were:
• a brief information about different types of energy • how fossil fuels are formed • how fossil fuels are used and for which purposes e.g. power stations to distribute electricity to all houses, for cars, for factories etc • what is the impact of combustion and pollution on the environment • what alternative sources of energy we could use if not fossil fuels • what are the impacts / benefits of non-fossil fuels • how can we utilise other sources of energy • which are the best sources of energy • what can we do to avoid pollution and promote the use of non-pollution energy sources.
All the physics teachers in my school spent a whole double lesson 1hour 30 minutes to expand and elaborate more on the subject. I also prepared and promoted a board with information in the reception area of the school, so that when anyone enters the school, they can read and learn about energy. Even the parents who visit our school to pick up their children, used to read the board and show interest in it.
Some students participated in the competition, and the best submissions from each class were analysed and voted for by the students themselves. Only the best ones were uploaded on the energy competition website. Some students prepared charts to hang in the science media room.
Through this project, the students learnt and got more aware about issues concerning energies. They have more insight about problems and benefits, and how to live a better life when reducing pollution by using natural energy.
I also distributed this competition around all secondary schools in Malta and Gozo. I think that the greatest benefit out of this project was that the students are appreciating more our environment and the natural sources of energy that we have available and that perhaps we ignore. They learnt a lot of hints for example:
• improved insulation in housing to reduce heat loss • lightweight products that reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions during transportation • efficient energy-using products e.g. energy-saving light bulbs • driving slower to save fuel • taking a shower instead of a bath • avoiding leaving household appliances on standby • walking instead of using cars for short journeys • switching off lights when leaving a room • taking public transport • solar energy: sunlight is captured by solar panels to produce energy (heat and electricity) • wind energy: wind power is converted into electricity by wind turbines • bio-energy: energy generated by biological processes (plants and plant-derived materials; it is also called biomass energy) and converted by (specially designed) power plants into heat and electricity • hydropower: the power of flowing water converted by hydro-turbines into electricity • geothermal energy: the energy available in the middle of the earth and recovered as heat by e.g. injecting cold water • it helps reduce global warming • it makes us less dependent on conventional energy sources and fossil fuels • it saves money, by making us use energy more efficiently (more for less).
These students will be tomorrow's adults and leaders, and perhaps they will make better use of energy and contribute towards a better world.