Educators conduct energy workshops

By Mark Carpenter

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sustainability was the lesson of the day for some Punahou Students.

Educators from all over the island were at the school on Friday conducting hands-on lessons about sustainability and renewable energy.

The workshop is a product of the Educators' Energy Exchange -- a partnership between the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), the Hawaii State Department of Education and Punahou School.

"Today is an opportunity for the teachers to try out some of their ideas in sustainable energy education with a group of students before they go back to their regular classrooms and implement the curriculum in their everyday classroom," said Gentry Hirohata, a seventh-grade science teacher at Punahou School. "We want to create a sense of urgency for the students because we want them to have this idea of stewardship for sustainable energy because it's really going to impact their lives in the future."

A goal of the partnership is to implement more lessons on energy into Hawaii classrooms. HECO was instrumental in providing much of the funding for Friday's workshop.

"All of our employees are really excited about all of the learning that's going on. If we can teach kids about sustainable energy, then I think it'll be a lot more accepted within the entire community and that's what we are trying to do," President and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries Connie Lau said. "We are trying to get Hawaii off of oil, get Hawaii sustainable, using our indigenous energy sources."

The workshop used a variety of hands-on teaching practices to expand on the concept of renewable energy.

Punahou seventh grader Khalil Edwards worked with an experiment focused on how to cook with solar power.

"It was really cool to see how much energy you could produce with the sun," Edwards said.

Through these workshops, educators are hoping more sustainability is present in both public and private schools.

"It would be interesting to see a whole class dedicated to sustainability. I know that there are some restrictions on what the teachers need to teach in the classrooms," Hirohata said. "So they would have to figure out ways to integrate that into a full self-contained sustainability classroom, but the idea is to at least have them start by focusing on sustainability issues and if they find a way to create a sustainability class. I think that would be really interesting."

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