IL Renewable Energy for Schools


UPDATE: (May 1, 2015) We recently received notification from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity that the grant funding for the program has been suspended due to the state’s financial condition.  As a result, the REFS workshops scheduled have been put on hold until further notice.  We will post any program updates as they become available.

The Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University and the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University are pleased to announce a new teacher workshop for the summer of 2015: The Illinois Renewable Energy for Schools Program.

The Illinois Renewable Energy for Schools (REFS) program offers curriculum resources, teacher professional development, technical assistance, and free instructional equipment in order to help middle school and high school educators bring renewable energy topics into the classroom. The REFS program addresses the New Illinois Learning Standards for Science (i.e. NGSS) by making connections to many of the Disciplinary Core Ideas within the NGSS and Common Core State Standards. For example, activities are geared toward modeling, reasoning, and real-life problem solving while also focusing on literacy within science and technical areas. Each unit is designed to engage students in a hands-on, STEM-based approach to learning about Renewable Energy.

The REFS program is a free professional development workshop offered at two locations during the summer of 2015. The one-day program will consist of plenary sessions and several break-out sessions on particular renewable energy technologies including wind energy, solar energy, biomass and biothermal energy, energy storage systems, energy efficiency and Smart Grid.

The Illinois REFS program provides the following for participants:

• A free renewable energy kit for you to keep
• Continuing Professional Development Units (CPDUs)
• Free lesson plans and resource materials
• Knowledge about renewable energy technologies that are most relevant for Illinois
• Best practices for incorporating renewable energy lesson plans into the New Illinois Learning Standards for Science
• Access to renewable energy industry professionals
• Free lunch during the workshop

The Illinois Renewable Energy for Schools staff is comprised of expert personnel from the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University, the College of Business & Technology at Western Illinois University, the Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University, and the College of Education at Illinois State University. The program is funded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Eligible Applicants

Workshop content will be targeted to educators of grades 6-12 from the math, science, agriculture, industrial technology, engineering and related subject disciplines who are excited to teach project-based learning curriculum and have an interest in cross-curriculum implementation. Educators of other grade levels are welcome to apply; however, if selected may need to adapt the materials as appropriate.

Application Deadline

Application for the workshop is free. Maximum enrollment for each workshop is 25 participants. Two workshop locations will be offered during the summer of 2015: June 16th at Illinois State University, Normal, IL and August 5th at Argonne Learning Center at Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, IL.

To apply, complete the REFS Application.  The application PDF is best viewed in Internet Explorer or Chrome.  Applications are due April 1, 2015. Completed applications should be submitted via email to REFS@ilstu.edu .

For any questions, please contact REFS@ilstu.edu. Space is limited to 25 participants at each workshop, so sign up today!

For More Information

Email:  REFS@ilstu.edu

Matt Aldeman
Senior Energy Analyst
Center for Renewable Energy
Illinois State University
309-438-1440

Jolene Willis
Sustainable Development Specialist
Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs
Western Illinois University
309-298-2835