Generating interest

24th February 1995 at 00:00
Jerry Wellington visits the Centre for Research, Education and Training in Energy. Schools and colleges now have a double reason for showing an interest in energy and its management. Not only is it a major feature of the national curriculum, but the conservation of energy is also an important issue for teachers, heads and governors, with the local management of schools. And we all have an obligation to save energy for sound global reasons.

The Centre for Research, Education and Training in Energy (CREATE) was set up in 1988 and continues to be funded from the Departments of Trade and Industry and the Environment, with donations from industry.

The centre has four main functions: collecting and spreading information about energy; evaluating teaching methods and resources; giving advice to teachers, administrators and others; and producing its own materials.

Collecting and disseminating information is partly carried out by its termly newsletter, Energywatch, 4,000 copies of which are sent out to teachers. The autumn issue featured new materials on green teacher resources, a report on the E-team children from Newark junior school who monitor energy use and wastage in their junior school and a bulletin board giving short accounts of new resources.

Create reaches large numbers of teachers at exhibitions and conferences, and has recently produced two large directories of resource materials, one for primary (Pounds 3) and one for secondary (Pounds 5).

Create's advisory function provides a free enquiry service to pupils, students and teachers on all aspects of energy.

The centre will also provide help to teachers and advisers in preparing their own teaching materials and strategies for energy education. One of their important premises is that the school is itself a valuable teaching resource.

This idea has resulted in one of the best acronyms of the year SHAME, standing for schools holistic approach to the management of energy. The scheme is based on two home truths: LMS has put energy management on the agenda and that the energy budget is commonly the second largest item of a school's running costs after salaries. Shame provides a programme to encourage everyone to take an active part in energy management by doing a lot more than just switching off lights in empty rooms.

Finally, Create is currently making a push to produce its own teaching resources. A computer program called Producing Energy (Pounds 49 for Windows. Pounds 89 for Apple Macintosh, with CD-Roms for either) has just been released. This allows users to study energy production in detail and compare different ways of generating electricity. The economic and environmental impacts of producing electrical power at different sites around the world can be contrasted.

A CD-Rom is also being produced, which will contain photographs and animations of energy resources and their exploitation with an optional audio commentary. Both these IT resources should be useful at key stage 4.

With the closure of the Department of Energy, Create has re-released some of its teacher resources.

It has also worked with Philips to produce the EEL Pack, (Pounds 10), a resource containing worksheets, a wall chart and teachers' guide on energy-efficient lighting (EEL) for schools.

Create has also developed with Technology Systems of Chesterfield the Hot House (Pounds 59 plus VAT). This provides all the equipment needed to study the loss of heat from a building to its surroundings. Pupils can investigate the effect of wall insulation, the contribution of double glazing and the value of curtains all ideal for the new sc1 in science.

Create, Kenley House, 25 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1SY Technology Teaching Systems, Unit 4, Park Road, Holmewood, Chesterfield, Derbyshire S42 5UY.

Centre for Research, Education and Training in Energy - stand PV62

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