Contest To Reward Kids’ Smart Energy Choices

Remember the Presidential Fitness Test? For one horrifying week in P.E. class, even the most un-athletic kids were forced into embarrassing competition with their peers in sprints, a mile-run, pull-ups and other humiliations–all for the purpose of fulfilling federal funding requirements. Well, here comes a Fitness Test for the smart kids–and this one might even help increase energy conservation in U.S. households.

As part of the Obama Administration’s initiative to improve science, technology, engineering and math education; the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Teachers Association have announced the kick-off of registration for a nationwide contest to encourage elementary and middle school students across the U.S. to make smarter energy choices. America’s Home Energy Education Challenge (AHEEC) aims to educate students on the benefits of energy efficiency and motivate them to play a more active role in making decisions about home energy use. Run by the National Science Teachers Association, the program will encourage students, teachers, and families to learn more about energy consumption and efficiency, while inspiring students to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


image via DOE

Students can participate in the AHEEC in two ways: the Home Energy Challenge and the Energy Fitness Award. In the Home Energy Challenge, schools will compete within 11 regions for more than $200,000 in prizes. The Energy Fitness Award is an individual challenge. Reminiscent of the Presidential Fitness Test (minus the pointing and laughing) the Energy Fitness Award asks students to complete specific tasks to demonstrate understanding of basic energy issues, such as interpreting a home energy bill and conducting a home energy assessment. Badges of achievement will be awarded at three levels: Joule, Kilojoule, and Megajoule.

Registration began on August 16, and will continue through October 7, 2011. Students, teachers and principals are encouraged to register at

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

1 Comment

  • Reply August 29, 2011

    Zander Fields

    What a fantastic initiative! Communities can always benefit from better understanding of green technology and utilizing energy efficient appliances and products! I’m currently working towards my Master’s of Education online at this site:u00a0 and I would happily bring curriculum like this into my classroom!

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