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Walkertown students get hands-on look at how energy is created

WALKERTOWN, N.C. -- At first glance, it may look like a typical 7th-grade science class. But the students at Walkertown Middle School are part of the Piedmont Environmental Alliance's Energy Explorers program.

“It's so important for students to understand that energy has a cost both to our wallets and to the environment, and to understand that by making small and big changes we can all make a difference,” said Jamie Maier, executive director of PEA.

Through an interactive conversation and a variety of hands-on experiences, the students learn about energy consumption, conservation and renewable energy sources.

“Kids really learn the best with this type of experience,” said Maier. It's a hands-on interactive lesson that feels a little different from the normal school day.”

The stationary bike is a real highlight. Connected to multiple lightbulbs, it demonstrates to students how much more energy it takes to power low-efficiency sources.

“They actually have an opportunity to get on the bike and use their own kinetic energy to power that light board and that really brings it home for them," said Nicole Stebbins, program coordinator for PEA. “They get a physical understanding of the concept.”

The Winston-Salem Foundation helped PEA bring its Energy Explorers program into classrooms across the district at no cost to the schools.

“It's a great time because kids are coming into their own independence and making their own choices and can still be influenced to make a positive impact on the environment,” said Stebbins.