Allen Park 4th-graders learn about energy, conservation

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Fourth-graders at Lindemann Elementary got a charge out of a class lesson Thursday.

That’s because they joined in the National Energy Foundation’s Think! Energy program, which included experiments, games and how to conserve energy.

“It was cool,” said Anthony Roulo, 10. “I really liked playing Lingo (similar to Bingo) and making a human electrical circuit.”

The Utah-based nonprofit foundation works to teach children about energy. Detroit-based DTE Energy also presented Thursday’s lesson.

The two companies have been working together on the program since 2011, said Sereen Dababneh, Think! Energy Program Manager for DTE Energy.

On Thursday, the more than 50 fourth-graders gathered in Beth Dixon’s classroom at Lindemann Elementary for the 60-minute, interactive program.

Pupils learned about how energy is produced and used, about energy safety and conservation.

They sang songs, played games and performed experiments, like making an electrical circuit by gathering in a circle, holding hands and holding a so-called energy stick — a battery-powered circuit tester that lit up and buzzed when the circuit was closed.

They also took home energy-efficient light bulbs and faucet aerators.

“We help them think about energy, we talk about energy and ask them to take action to save energy for the future,” Dababneh said.

Principal Mike Darga praised the program for nudging kids and their families to think about energy use and conservation

“We like to have guest presenters because it brings more of the real world in for students,” he said. “Then there’s the kit they can take home and talk to their families about what they saw. That’s what it’s all about: taking it beyond the classroom.”

The presentations are given to classrooms across Michigan, which according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration ranks 31st among states in total energy consumed per capita. The EIA’s survey also found that heating makes up a greater portion of energy use in Michigan homes (55 percent) compared to the U.S. average due to cooler weather.

Adeline Tuccini, 9, said she liked joining in the day’s activities.

“My favorite part was making the human electric circuit,” she said.

Roulo said he was going to take what he learned home with him.

“I’m going to change the light bulbs and put in the new ones they gave me,” he said.