Energy workshop empowers local teachers

Energy workshop empowers local teachers
Posted Feb 27th, 2020

Each summer break, South Alabama Electric Cooperative sponsors a group of local teachers on a trip to Destin, Florida, to take part in the Empower Energy Education Workshop. The conference gives K-12 teachers the training and resources they need to tackle energy subjects in the classroom with a complete understanding of the electric industry.

“Electricity today is so commonplace that it can be easy for people to forget all the work that goes into providing it,” says SAEC Gen-eral Manager David Bailey. “The Empower conference is an excellent way to reach our younger students to teach them the truth about electricity: how it’s generated, how it’s supplied and the different energy needs for a stable baseload.”

Cheryl Watson, who teaches science to seventh and eighth graders at Goshen High School, attended the conference for the sec-ond time last year. She appreciated how well-organized the workshop was and that she and her colleagues were treated like professionals.

“I also really liked the collaboration with other science teachers and talking to them about how they use the curriculum,” she says.

“You don’t normally get to talk to teachers at different levels. But because this is a secondary, intermediate and elementary curriculum, I enjoyed learning how elementary teachers were presenting it to little kids.”

The workshop launched in 2017 as a partnership between PowerSouth Energy Cooperative and its member cooperatives to give teachers greater insight into the science of producing reliable and affordable electricity.

PowerSouth worked with the National Energy Education Development Project, an organization that promotes energy education across the country, to develop new ways of teaching energy science that will engage students of all ages.

One of the standout sessions from last year’s conference walked attendees through the process of creating an energy-themed escape room to capture students’ imaginations. It was the type of project Watson had always wanted to try in her classroom, but she had felt daunted by the challenge.

“They showed us how easy it could be to manage something like that in the classroom, using just ideas about energy transformation,” she says. “It was really cool.” 

Teachers: Learn More & Register for Empower

Group shots of teachers at Empower Workshop