By Karen Andrew
The Cincinnati Enquirer
ANDERSON TOWNSHIP - Elementary students across Greater Cincinnati are discovering that learning about science, particularly energy, can be fun, thanks to 20 juniors and seniors at Anderson High School.
"The younger students see the older kids and think, `This is not such a geeky thing,'" said Jeff Rodriguez, a physics teacher and science club adviser at Anderson.
His students, members of the school's award-winning National Energy Education Development (NEED) club, conduct community energy activities and train elementary students to become energy leaders at their schools.
"I have a great group of kids that makes it easy," Mr. Rodriguez said. "That's why we've won a national award three of the last four years. This is their way of community outreach and to be a positive role model for the younger students."
The club's Web site, learnaboutenergy.org, recently received an Internet Challenge award from ThinkQuest, an international teaching Web site. It was a featured site in Lightspan's StudyWeb, a search engine for educational resources. The site has received queries from around the world, including New Zealand and Switzerland.
This month at Cincinnati Museum Center, , Anderson students demonstrated wind energy concepts to 450 students and teachers from more than a dozen Tristate schools as part of the Ohio Energy Project's Energy Fair. They were: Clermont Northeastern, Fairhaven Church Home School, St. Gabriel, Talawanda Middle, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Oyler Elementary, Prince of Peace, Winton Montessori, Bond Elementary, Lakeside Elementary, St. Vincent De Paul, Loveland Intermediate and Valley Middle schools.
The Anderson students were among about 100 high school students who practiced their leadership and teaching skills. In one experiment, students used a fan, pinwheel and wind turbine to demonstrate how energy can be captured from wind and used for power.
"I really like working with the kids trying to explain physics," said senior Ali Hawkins. "I think it's important to show kids someone cares, be a role model."
In May, Anderson was honored by NEED as the Senior School of the Year for its project, "Energy Fun for Everyone."
As part of that project, the Anderson club reached more than 2,000 people with such activities as the "Rockin' Rockets Launch," a fund-raiser in which people donated money to launch rockets. Proceeds benefited the Community Action Agency Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which assists people with home-heating bills.
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