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The Green Life: Science Competition Has Kids Vying to Make Their Homes Greener

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May 24, 2011

Science Competition Has Kids Vying to Make Their Homes Greener

Yellow bus Here's an assignment that really puts the "home" in homework: The Department of Energy and the National Science Teachers Association announced a new national science competition, to rouse third through eighth graders in a three-month-long challenge to reduce their homes' energy consumption.

Teams of students will be charged with monitoring home energy usage, experimenting with ways to boost efficiency and conservation, and encouraging family members to take part. This fall, students will compare energy data with the previous year's numbers and work with their teachers to improve results. Winners will then qualify for 11 regional competitions, which will turn into a national contest and the chance to vie for more than $200,000 in prizes for their school. Hey, that's a lot of lunch money! If you're a teacher or principal, you can register your school here.

The idea behind the program goes beyond the typical science fair. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said today that the challenge "leverages the passion and curiosity of students to encourage families across the country to reduce energy waste in their homes while inspiring the next generation of America's energy leaders."

It's a great way to reach people at a young age. Chances are, by the time these students take the SATs, they'll be considering which colleges are incorporating energy-savings programs. That's where Sierra magazine's Cool Schools survey comes in; it ranks the greenest U.S. universities every September.

-- Brian Foley

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