Last week, 23 science teachers converged on Squaw Valley Resort in Lake Tahoe, California for ACE’s 2nd annual teacher workshop, “Climate & Energy in the Next Generation Classroom”. Teachers taught science in grades 5-12 and hailed from around northern California and all parts of Nevada.
The teacher workshop got a huge boost this year when ACE teamed up with longtime partner in northern Nevada, GreenPower, to co-host the workshop and add an emphasis on energy to complement ACE’s climate focus. GreenPower is a program run out of the Desert Research Institute that provides educational resources and training to teachers and students on topics like renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainability practices.
All teachers were thrilled to get away from their hometown heat to the mild, sunny weather of Lake Tahoe in the summer. Despite uncharacteristic clouds and rain, teachers were able to get outside for activities like building and racing solar cars and a trip up Squaw’s famous tram to the top of the ski resort at over 8,000 feet.
The workshop alternated between hands-on lesson plans and expert guest speakers. Lesson plans included running online climate models, graphing CO2 and temperature through time via ice core data and testing wattage of different light bulbs. Guest speakers gave talks on biofuels (Colin Murphy of the California Council on Science and Technology), using online weather and climate data (Nina Oakley of the Western Regional Climate Center), how to begin teaching to the new Next Generation Science Standards or NGSS (Phil Romig from Sacramento County Office of Education) and the California Education and Environment Initiative or EEI (Bunnie Hale, an EEI ambassador and former teacher).
With the workshop ending daily at 3 pm, there was plenty of fun to be had after hours as well. Teachers checked out Squaw’s many delicious restaurants, explored nearby Lake Tahoe and braved the occasional rain on Squaw’s hiking trails.
And what did the teachers think? One teacher said, “All of it was fascinating science topics that I can implement in my classroom.” Another exclaimed, “Loved the location! It is great to feel nurtured!” And another teacher reported: “It was one of the best workshops I’ve been to in a while.”
Big thanks to Justin Jones and Amelia Gulling, ACE’s partners at GreenPower for being such incredible co-sponsors of the workshop. Thanks also to all the workshop supporters: Squaw Valley, NVEnergy, SW Gas and Washoe County Health District Air Quality Management Division.