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Virtual Education Programs

NREL's education team hosts virtual programming for kids.

Virtual Story Time with NREL

Children ages 5–8 are invited to join an NREL staff member as we read a story and complete a related activity each week. Join us at 1:30 p.m. (MT) every Monday or 10:30 a.m. (MT) every Thursday via Microsoft Teams.

Week of Feb. 1: Special Guest Jennifer Daw

NRELian Jennifer Daw, an engineer and LEED accredited professional, will join us to discuss her work in water systems. After discussing her work at NREL, she will read one of her favorite stories. 

Week of Feb. 8: Nothing Stopped Sophie by Cheryl Bardoe 

After reading the story, we will talk about our own misconceptions about school and science. We will take a little quiz to learn our own misconceptions. 

Week of Feb. 15: Mae among the Stars by Roda Ahmed 

After reading the book, we will talk about the elements and energy types that exist in the universe. We will discuss the elements and reactions that take place in the sun as well as why labs such as NREL are working to harness energy in the universe.

Week of Feb. 22: Special Guest Jane Pusch

NRELian Jane Pusch will tell students what it means to be a project controller at NREL. After, she will read a story she wrote —The Why-entist and the Wild Weather.  

Week of Mar. 1: The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity by Amy Alznauer 

After reading the story, we will do an experiment with mirrors to demonstrate the concept of infinity. We will try to count the number of objects that we can see in the mirrors. 

Week of Mar. 8: Special Guest Elise DeGeorge 

NRELian Elise DeGeorge will discuss her work at NREL as a project leader in the water power research group. After, she will read her favorite story.  

Week of Mar. 15: The Girl Who Thought in Pictures by Julia Finley Mosca 

After reading the story, we will put our own creativity to the test by drawing our own interpretation of certain words. Students will need plain paper and markers or colored pencils. 

Week of Mar. 22: Special Guest Kathleen Brown 

NRELian Kathleen Brown will discuss her work as a design engineer in energy conversion at NREL. After, she will read her favorite story. 

Week of Mar. 29: The Astronaut with a Song for the Stars by Julia Finley Mosca 

After reading the story, we will talk about how astronauts get the energy they need. We will discuss the science of sound waves in space and the energies surrounding them. Students can bring musical instruments if they have them. Rubber bands will also work. 

Week of Apr. 5: Special Guest Arielle Cardinal 

NRELian Arielle Cardinal will tell us what it means to be a program integrator in the water power research program at NREL. She will also tell us how she transitioned from working in the hospitality industry to the renewable energy sector. After, she will read her favorite story. 

Week of Apr. 12: The World Is Not a Rectangle by Jeanette Winter 

After reading the story, we will build our own cool structures. Students will need blocks, Legos, or other building supplies. 

Week of Apr. 19: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba 

After reading the story, we will learn more about different renewable energy sources and how they work. We will use a hand crank generator to power a small “city” to get a better understanding of how wind energy works. 

Week of Apr. 26: Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker 

After reading the story, we will talk about making our own fueling decisions. We will discuss how choosing the right foods to fuel our bodies makes a big difference in our performance throughout the day. 

Week of May 3: Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Invention by Chris Barton 

After reading the story, we will learn about other great inventions that were accidents, like silly putty and antibiotics. 

Week of May 10: Rainbow Weaver by Tejedora del Arcoiris

After reading the story, we will use recycled paper and plastic bags to make our own weaves. Students will need a long piece of cardboard, yarn, leftover plastic bags, recycled paper, and scissors.

Week of May 17: Starstruck by Kathleen Krull 

After reading the book, we will make solar ovens. Students will need some form of cardboard box (pizza boxes work best, but we can make a shoe box or shipping box work), aluminum foil, and black construction paper. 

Week of May 24: Maybe by Kobi Yamada 

After reading the book, we will talk about potential energy and our own potential. We will finish by talking about our favorite Story Time moments from this year. We look forward to learning more about what students got out of the series and what they want going forward.

*All supplies are suggestions, and substitutions can be made. If other suggestions are needed, please email Meghan Pearson, and she can provide help with creative options. 

Virtual Science Experiment Series 

NREL's education team has developed new virtual science projects and experiments geared toward students in 4–8th grades, but all ages are welcome. If you are a teacher and have suggestions or questions, please contact Meghan Pearson.