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New Mexico Future Scientists Teach Others About Energy
Submitted by Barbara Lazar and Robert Lazar
Imagine walking past the huge statues of tyrannosaurus rex and stegosaurus – creatures that existed over a hundred million years ago. These fossils are younger even than many of our fossil fuels used for energy! Then you walk by a colorful trailer with student-designed artwork, solar panels, and a wind turbine, with displays on the inside that are demonstrated and explained by students in our Bosque School Energy STARS (Students Teaching About Resource Saving) NEED Club.
The Bosque School Energy STARS NEED Club students were invited to participate in the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Future Scientists Day where so many experienced the fun of learning about energy. The Energy STARS NEED Club is an activity block sponsored by Ms. Barb Lazar, with assistance and support from Mr. Robert Lazar. The students demonstrated and shared their energy interests, welcoming museum visitors to the joy of science as they experience it at school.
Anxious to enter the museum, you are distracted and intrigued by this welcoming and interactive exhibit. You walk by the Bosque School banner and realize this interesting diversion is being hosted and run by middle school students. Your curiosity draws you to a bright yellow stationary bike that has been converted into an energy bike, powered by the energy of visitors young and old. Energy transfer is experienced; chemical energy in your body is transferred to kinetic energy in your motion, and then into electrical energy as it powers devices. You also see students showing enthralled children how to extract hydrogen from water through the electrolysis process. They are using a PEM-electrolyzer to power a small car with the electrons stripped from the hydrogen.
The nearly 3,000 visitors encountered Bosque’s energy demonstration on the way in and out of the museum throughout the day. Students invited people to ride the energy bike, explore the trailer, learn about hydrogen, receive information and puzzles about forms and sources of energy, and offered reminders about ways to conserve energy. Observing the solar-powered water pump was also fascinating for children – as they stood in front of the panel, the pump stopped; as they moved their shadow away, and water began to flow again!
What the Energy STARS NEED Club students learned is that there are so many in our community who are interested, curious, and wanting to learn more about energy. We learned that many of those in our community are knowledgeable, have expertise to share, and are supportive of our efforts to bring energy awareness to others. We also learned that the more we share and teach others, the more we are learning. Kids teaching kids in action!