SPOKANE, Wash. — The buzzing of a noisemaker, paired with the whirring of fans and blinking lights kept the fourth graders at Indian Trail Elementary captivated through their lesson on energy Wednesday morning.
The interactive lesson on renewable energy and its relation to climate and the environment is new for Spokane Public Schools elementary students this year.
The children were greeted by two Gonzaga University undergraduate students from the University's Center for Climate, Society and the Environment.
The university students brought several boxes full of interactive materials to teach the students in a hands-on way.
Wednesday's lesson was part of an ongoing partnership between Spokane Public School District and Gonzaga University.
The University compiled several interactive lesson plans based on existing curriculum to engage students in climate and environmental studies.
"We're likely the first district in Washington State to provide hands-on science kits to every elementary school that focus on climate topics. Not just Science generally, but touch on these topics of renewable energy and the difference between weather and climate," Karli Honebein, Gonzaga's Center for Climate, Society and the Environment Program Coordinator, said.
Each elementary school has a set of their own interactive kits, and Gonzaga students teach the 45-minute lessons in four to eight classrooms each week.
Honebein said it is beneficial for children to interact with aspiring scientists and learn about higher education. She said the program has inspired some university students to pursue environmental education as a career.
The lesson plans and science kits can be used to teach curriculum in all second through fifth-grade classrooms across the district.
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