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Creating a “cleaner energy future for the Commonwealth” (DOER’s focus) and teaching engaging and relevant science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) material in the classroom may seem like two goals that require different strategies. However, DOER’s new energy education website (mass.gov/energy/energyeducation) may enable progress toward both.

The website is a tool for Massachusetts educators − perhaps you − to explore clean energy concepts as a way to bring math and science lessons together in a stimulating, engaging context. You can learn about examples of successful energy education programs in our schools, examples of student efforts that have won energy and environmental education awards, and evolving state and federal guidelines and standards that are creating a path to integrate science and energy education.

The website’s section on “Lessons You Can Use in Your Massachusetts Classroom” discusses ways to link science concepts to clean energy examples that can make lessons more interesting and more relevant. For instance, if you’re teaching about thermodynamics and heat energy, why not talk about solar thermal collectors as an application of these principles? This energy education page also connects to lessons – with sample lesson plans – that fit energy concepts to current Massachusetts standards for science education.

Many great energy education lesson plans are freely available online already; DOER hasn’t tried to reinvent that wheel. Our website shows you how easy it is to integrate these lessons into your science curriculum and match them to our state education standards. Through energy examples, your students will be able to learn about exciting, real-world applications of science.

As a DOER intern, I was able to create a large part of the content for this website. It quickly became clear that teachers have many demands on their time, so our DOER team tried to make this website practical and easy-to-use. Another insight from this experience is that a few motivated individuals really can make a difference and change the way a school system approaches sustainability. While researching content for the website, I was inspired again-and-again by stories of how innovative educators around Massachusetts are making clean energy and environmental awareness a part of their students’ lives.

Finally, my DOER colleagues are always looking for feedback and ways to improve the website, so please share your ideas with us at energy.education@state.ma.us.

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