Are you smarter - or greener - than a fifth grader?

Lacie Shimuzu
Lacie Shimuzu
Connor Kennedy
Connor Kennedy

HAWAII KAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A bill that allows the state to create an inter-island power grid - with an undersea cable - is on its way to Governor Abercrombie's desk. The Governor calls it a priority.

But lawmakers aren't the only ones tackling Hawaii's renewable energy resources - as we found out when we met Ms. Shimizu's fifth grade class.

The undersea, inter-island cable controversy has gone on for decades - far longer than students at Hahaione elementary school have been alive. Decisions made today will impact these fifth graders long after they're grown. That's why teacher Lacie Shimuzu wants her students to get involved now.

"They have the opportunity to make a difference in this world," says the teacher. The students were tasked with creating a science project focused on alternative energy.

"I guess I'll demonstrate for you now," says 11 year old Connor Kennedy. He built this waterwheel. "At first, I didn't really know a lot about hydro-electricity and water-producing energy so I kind of got curious," Connor explains.

Hydro, solar, wind, bio-fuels. They've studied all the renewable resources. Krystal Spear had planned to work with animals or write for a living, but geothermal inspired her. "This topic of alternative energy really interests me so maybe thinking about a scientist!"

Hawaii households pay about $200 a month, on average, for electricity - three times the national average. The state spent more than $5 billion importing oil last year – so these kids could be onto something. Nathan Yee would like to see more folks recycle. "I feel like the more ordinary people could contribute a little more," Nathan says.

"Yes, we do recycle," adds Connor. "My sister's chore is to take out the recycling everyday where I pick up the dog poop. I want to trade with her very badly!" he laughed.

You know, maybe it's not so easy to be smarter than a fifth grader.

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