Boston Public Schools closed today due to -20 degree wind chills. Sounds like the schools need some geothermal heating that Fellows Kristen Cacciatore and Mandy Dillingham researched in Iceland last summer with their Fund for Teachers grant.
These East Boston High teachers spent a week investigating the impact of climate change on Iceland’s society, educational system and natural environment to develop instructional resources that empower students to address climate change and its impacts on Boston.
“We designed our Fund for Teachers fellowship to go to the world’s leader in renewable energy generation. We gained new insight into how best to combat climate change by using renewable energy sources that do not produce carbon dioxide emissions in the place of fossil fuels. Our goal is to use these experiences and new knowledge to develop curricula that empower students to develop new ideas to change current energy practices in our school and community,” wrote Mandy.
The teachers found that Icelanders take pride in their use geothermal energy to heat water used in everything from homes to public swimming pools. After renting a car, the explored Hellisheidi, the second largest geothermal power station in the world (pictured above), hiked the Hengill Volcano and explored Pingvellir, the national park where two tectonic plates meet. They also toured an innovative greenhouse that grows tomatoes using 100% of its energy from geothermal heat.
Back in Boston (although not today) Kristen and Mandy teach a newly-developed curricula that addresses climate change and the use alternate forms of energy to alleviate carbon dioxide emissions that will be delivered to hundreds of students this year alone. They are also incorporating their fellowship learning into climate change activities with the Science Club they co-lead after school. Students are in the process of developing a series of fun, informative, video clips about climate change in our local area, and ways to conserve energy, which will be delivered on school-wide TVs.
“On our fellowship, we learned how a large community was able to vastly reduce its amount of carbon dioxide production by using geothermal heat and how this heat is converted to electricity to significantly improve the quality of life of Icelanders,” said Kristen. “And our adventures in Iceland have inspired our students to try to prevent global warming by changing how the energy they use every day is produced.”
You can learn more about their experiences on the blog they developed and updated daily for faculty, family, and students to follow.
An additional BPS teacher, Alex Pancic (Brighton High) also used his FFT grant to research energy in Iceland. Specifically, Alex enrolled in Reykjavik University’s School of Energy program to learn how Iceland maximizes alternative energy systems and incorporate these solutions, along with photos and interviews, into an Engineering for the 21st Century curriculum.