What better time to host NEED’s annual National Energy Conference for Educators than following on the heels of downtown Long Beach’s 3-day electrical black-out? Glad the electrical grid was a topic on the agenda!

Ninety-four educators joined NEED staff and facilitators in Long Beach this July for a 5-day course on energy, delving into the science behind energy, electricity generation, the pros and cons of different sources, modern transportation and conservation methods to name a few. The topics spanned just as far as the teachers had traveled to get there—New York to Thailand to Singapore!

The agenda included general assembly style meetings, breakout sessions meant to target specific topics or grade levels, and synthesizing meetings to help teachers “digest” at the end of each day with teachers in similar settings. There was play time, networking time, and time for getting down to business (which still felt like play time).

Teachers, museum directors, science coordinators, and others filled the Renaissance Long Beach eager to network, to collaborate, and to get their hands on light meters, PV panels, cookie mining games, and NGSS-aligned curriculum, often remarking how eager they were to utilize these activities in their classrooms.

And in case afternoons of peak oil, Kill-a-Watt meters, and anemometers weren’t enough, NEED managed to squeeze in a field trip to NRG’s Long Beach station!

This year’s team of facilitators worked hard to cover a lot of material in five days, aid participants in adapting this curriculum to their own unique teaching settings, and keep the ENERGY alive!
Thanks to them for all of their hard work, to our participants for being fun students—and challenging us with your insight—and to our always generous sponsors for making it possible for a lot of these teachers to attend!

With professional development credit, energy kits, new friends and newfound knowledge, 94 teachers and coordinators headed back home to start another energy-filled year. Best wishes for a successful 2015-16! We hope to see you all at Youth Awards!


By Cassie Chesson