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Students do hands-on learning at WDM

Exploring energy efficient buildings

YORKTON - Grade 7 students in the Yorkton area have an opportunity for some hands-on education learning about energy efficiency in homes through a program being offered be the Saskatchewan Environmental Society in partnership with Western Development Museums in the province, including Yorkton. 

The program, ’Smarter Science Better Buildings’ (SSBB) combines interactive displays specific to energy efficiency in today's buildings with exploration of the Museum galleries. In the galleries, students consider energy efficiency and sustainable methods used in the past as well as looking at the Museum building. 

From March 22 to April 14, 2022, the WDM in Yorkton is hosting students for a half day of learning including Grade 7-9 students from Macdonald School in Stockholm, SK Friday. 

Instructor Noelle Sapieha said attending the day was definitely a positive for the school and the students, especially with WDM staff doing some of the activity planning for students and SaskEnergy subsidizing the costs of busing students to Yorkton. 

For the Grade 7 students in particular learning about energy and how it relates to  heating and cooling fits with their core curriculum.

For older students, the day sort of fills a blank since the school hasn’t “been able to go out much the last couple of years,” said Sapieha. She added any time students have an opportunity for hands-on learning that reinforces what they take in the classroom is a good thing. 

And, there were elements of the displays requiring students to put what they learn in class to more practical use, noted Sapieha, pointing to math skills in particular needed to do some of the calculations associated with the displays. 

“That’s the learning aspect,” she said. “. . . Think of this as just a bigger classroom.” 

Taiya Nicholas is a Grade 9 students attending the day. She said it was fun day, but also a good way to learn firsthand about energy efficiency. For example, she said she found a display on the differences in energy use by various lights information, adding it was something she can take home to her parents to consider. 

Mason Chopping, a Grade 7 student, said being able to see how homes were heated in the past, thanks to the museum displays, and then comparing what they did to today was interesting. 

James Gates, Director, Customer Solutions with SaskEnergy touched on the history of energy efficiency in the province, noting how to heat homes has always been important here because of the extended cold season. 

That need may have been why the first energy efficient home was built in Regina in 1977, he noted. 

Gates said the entire program is geared toward helping students better understand the energy requirements of a home, and how to compare various elements, older furnace versus energy efficient one, as an example. He added there is a calculator on their website to help with calculations. 

It is expected seven schools in the area will take in the displays while at the WDM in the city. 


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