Students at Baruch College Campus High School in Manhattan are sharpening their math and science skills through lessons on energy efficiency that they can take to their home and communities. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report on a program in Connect A Million Minds, an initiative by Time Warner Cable, NY1's parent company, to get kids interested in science, technology engineering and math.
Damon Lee was planning a career in fitness, but now, instead of wanting to burn energy for a living, he wants to conserve it.
"I really want to be innovative and really create something to help out the world to save energy," says Lee.
A new education initiative at Baruch College Campus High School, in Manhattan's Flatiron District, sparked Lee's enthusiasm for engineering. His school is one of more than two dozen participating in the "Green Design Lab."
Solar One, an energy and arts organization, partnered with the Department of Education to introduce the year-long enrichment program to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. It is designed to increase environmental literacy and encourage student to improve sustainability in their homes and communities.
"I feel like this class is really allowing me to think outside the box and in my own home I turn the light off when I'm not using it," says student Jayson Estrera. The best way to learn is to actually do experiments and to do projects. You can only get so far with reading and writing."
"Ultimately, we want our students not just to learn academics but to be active citizens in their society and hopefully go on to careers in the sciences that they could be excited about," says Principal Alicia Perez-Katz of Baruch College Campus High School.
During the school year, a Solar One educator visits science classrooms twice a week and works with staff to teach age-appropriate curriculum that incorporates hands on activities.
One of the lessons involves meter reading.
"Students are calculating how much electricity they've used or calculating with the flow meter, how much water comes out of the faucets and then doing different mathematical equations to figure out how much they're using in the long run," says Solar One educator Joe Chavez.
The Department of Education also created a competition encouraging participating schools to reduce the amount of electricity for a chance to win $30,000 in prize money.
For more information on programs designed to engage students in science, technology engineering and math (STEM), visit ConnectAMillionMinds.com.