What should Alberta students learn about energy?
What’s this about?
We need to depolarize the energy conversation in Alberta - and education is our best strategic tool to do this.
This initiative seeks to turn this around. In March 2020, ACEE held 3 workshops that engaged 47 energy and education professionals from 41 organizations to discuss the question: ‘What should Alberta K-12 students learn about energy - environment and climate?’. We used this information and worked with a group of Reviewers to update the Curriculum for a Sustainable Future.
A Visual of 'what students should learn about energy'
Using the text from the Energy Literacy Workshop Summary Document we created a Wordle to illustrate some of the key understandings needed for energy literacy.
What did we do?
- Used the information from the workshop summary, questionnaire responses and other current energy literacy information to:
- Revise our Curriculum for a Sustainable Future document to produce a 2nd edition
- Create an Alberta Energy Literacy definition
- Engaged a few energy, environment, climate and educator professionals as reviewers to assist with the steps above.
- Shared the updated version with Alberta Education and stakeholders to ensure these current ideas become part of new curriculum to help students be prepared in creating a sustainable future.
Why did we do this?
Ensuring Alberta curriculum prepares students for their future is important especially when it comes to environment and energy here in Alberta. ACEE has been working with Alberta Education on curriculum development for a number of years. Here are some of the reasons why completed this review and updated content (specifically in relation to energy literacy):
- Exploring both environmental and energy topics with students is important to prepare them for their future. If they are well-educated on these topics, they will be able to create innovative solutions that are 'win, win' instead of 'either/or' for environment, society and economy.
- Critical thinking and problem-solving are integral competencies for environmental and energy literacy - helping students learn how to think, not telling them what to think.
- Energy efficiency and conservation is a 'win, win' solution and helping students analysis energy costs, savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions is a life skill and can prepare them for job opportunities.
- Helping students understand "yes, and..." thinking also helps them navigate a constantly changing future. E.g. YES Alberta's heritage and prosperity is based on our energy industry and YES there is a current need for these energy sources and YES Alberta can be an energy leader in the global energy transition to a low carbon economy providing both prosperity and a healthy environment.
We met with members of the Energy Futures Lab to receive their input and the Wordle below highlights some of the things they thought are important (this represents only one engagement) and there will be much more engagement with others stakeholders as outlined above.
We are grateful to Suncor, Energy Efficiency Alberta and Fortis Alberta for supporting this work.