By Laura Snider Camera Staff Writer
Posted: 10/22/2010 06:50:49 PM MDT
For half an hour Friday afternoon, Michael Strife's fifth-grade class was turned into a superhero showdown.
The forces of good were represented by a red-caped, lightning strike-festooned, mask-wearing superhero named Kilowatt Kid. Her mission? To strike down energy waste.
"How many of you had a successful week finding vampire loads?" the Kilowatt Kid (aka Corrie Williams) asked the class, all of whom learned last week (from Count Plugula) about how chargers and turned-off appliances can still suck down electricity if they're left plugged in.
Everyone raised their hands, and that's exactly what the Kilowatt Kid was hoping for.
Friday was the third of five times the Kid (and some surprise evildoer) is scheduled to visit Strife's class. The pilot program, which is being tried in eight classrooms across the Boulder Valley School District, is being supported by part of the $25 million in stimulus funds that Boulder County received earlier this year to expand local energy-efficiency efforts.
"What our project is designed to do is teach kids action-based behavior they can take home and share with their parents," said Williams, a doctoral student at the University of Colorado who is collaborating with Symbiotic Engineering and Boulder County to create the Kilowatt Kidz program.
Williams and her colleagues want the program to be fun, empowering and make a measurable difference in electricity consumption. The pilot project is actually collecting utility bill information from volunteer
Katherine Lapp, left, and Lindsey Jamison, front, dance with Tim Hillman, dressed as "Doctor Drafty," and Corrie Williams, aka "the Kilowatt Kid," at Flatirons Elementary School in Boulder on Friday. ( PAUL AIKEN )families to track how electricity use changes throughout the program.
On Friday, Williams was joined by the extremely evil "Dr. Drafty," aka Tim Hillman, an energy engineering and community sustainability specialist with Symbiotic Engineering.
"I'm in all your homes letting your heat out," Dr. Drafty told the class with a menacing chuckle. "I want you to be cold and uncomfortable."
Friday's lesson went on to teach the students about the importance of insulation, good windows and sealing, and the class got to test what kind of cup kept water warmer longer: an insulated mug with a lid, an insulated cup with no lid, or a regular cup.
Those are the kinds of things that make the class cool, according to fifth-grader Alec Kostovny.
"It's fun because instead of just reading about stuff, you actually get to do experiments," he said.
If the pilot is successful, Kilowatt Kidz will be expanded to classrooms across the region beginning in the spring.
Watch a video: Kilowatt Kid teaches Boulder Valley fifth-graders to fight energy wasters