New lab explores alternative energy

Creative Learning Systems introduces the Alternative Energy SmartLab. This technology lab engages students in both hands-on and research-based investigation into sources of alternative energy and provides the opportunity to create solutions that reduce energy consumption and conserve the earth's natural resources. The Alternative Energy SmartLab provides an overview of alternative and renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, hydrogen, and geothermal energy. Students then explore these areas in more depth, conducting independent research and designing demonstration projects. Students participate in extensive hands-on experimentation building solar-powered cars, designing wind-turbine propellers, using hydrogen fuel cells, and cooking with solar ovens.

Creative Learning Systems is piloting the Alternative Energy SmartLab in a full-year program with introductory and advanced courses in Whitmore Lake High School in Whitmore Lake, Mich. Opened in 2007, Whitmore Lake High School’s innovative, environmentally friendly design features a geothermal heat pump system engineered with 47 miles of underground tubing. Whitmore Lake High School educators and school leaders also understand the importance of preparing students for jobs in a state economy where alternative energy is an increasingly important factor. "To fulfill our vision, it was not enough to build a green building, we needed to be a leader in green education as well," said Tom DeKeyser, the school's principal. The Alternative Energy SmartLab features a project-based, student-centered approach that challenges and engages students of all abilities. Students develop 21st century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, project planning, and communication. In cooperation with its partner schools across the country, Creative Learning Systems is helping prepare students to compete in a global economy.