During the week of October 19th, 2020, 18 teachers from Pasco School District attended a three-day online workshop, Solutions Oriented Learning Storylines: Renewable Energy-Solar, with Pacific Education Institute’s FieldSTEM Coordinator Mike Nepean and Faculty Michelle Townshend along with local community partners.
To begin the workshop series, Mike and Michelle acknowledged the land they reside on and gave time for the participants to research the lands they currently occupy. The participants later worked on an asynchronous activity to learn more about their local tribal nations and think about actionable steps to incorporate tribal history and perspectives in their classrooms. During the first session, participants learned about solar science, technology and solar as a solution for energy from Tyler Dornquast, Senior Project Engineer (Solar) at Avista Utilities.
The second session introduced participants to Clyde Abrahamson, who is a Spokane tribal member and the Spokane Indian Housing Authority Project Manager. Mr. Abrahamson shared about the Spokane Tribe’s implementation of solar panels and the impact solar energy has had on their community. The highlight of this workshop was Mr. Abrahamson’s drone tour of the Children of the Sun Solar Initiative project with live narration; the tour really made solar come to life for participants and facilitators alike! After hearing from Mr. Abrahamson, participants shared their tribal nation research from their asynchronous assignment in small groups. Multiple participants shared that learning about local Indigenous people was a new opportunity for them and they will carry this into their classrooms.
Finally, educators learned more about best practices in teaching science by discussing three-dimensional formative assessment strategies and being introduced to PEI’s Solutions Oriented Learning Storylines: Renewable Energy- Solar to teach climate science in developmentally appropriate, locally relevant ways. PEI will be facilitating additional Renewable Energy- Solar workshops in Spring 2021.