What do you get when you cross 93 educators with summer in the Nation’s Capital? The 2016 National Energy Conference for Educators! For five days, passionate K-12 teachers from all over the nation, Virgin Islands, and Singapore came together in Washington, D.C. to further enhance their energy knowledge and training.

From registration on day one with a wind turbine blade design challenge to the final morning, utilizing cereal as “transportation fuel”, teachers were kept up out of their seats actively learning and partaking in NEED’s hands-on energy units. Our knowledgeable and enthusiastic facilitators created a role reversal for teachers as they become the students and learned and tricks for useful ways to adapt each unit to various classrooms.

There were plenty of “oohs and aahs” that were enjoyed (in addition to riding the Hyatt Regency’s glass elevators). Creating songs for an energy rock performance to assuming the roles of advisor, geologist, and miner for country’s resources in a global trading game, activities for multiple grade levels and subjects were crafted into the agenda with standards for learning always kept in mind.

Participants also put their olfactory system’s tolerance to the test during a tour of Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant operated by DC Water, which is the largest advanced wastewater treatment plant in the world. The tour guide explained the plant’s emphasis on recycling and environmental consciousness by explaining the new biosolids management program. Solid materials get separated and processed through digesters that use a combination of heat and pressure to reduce odor while killing harmful pathogens. This results in a nutrient-rich product that gets sent to farms to aid as a soil enhancer.

Whether it’s your first year or your 50th, NEED’s National Energy Conference for Educators has something for every teacher to learn, experience, and take back to their classrooms to really energize their students. Checkout what this year’s participants had to say:

  • 95% of participants rated the conference above average
  • 92% said they would use the conference energy activities and associated materials in the classroom this coming school year
  • Over 75% of participants said the conference assisted in improving their energy knowledge