Stephen Hughes, Science teacher at Central Hamilton Elementary School,  recently visited the Keystone Science School Conference in Keystone, Colorado. This trip was in partnership with Duke Energy’s commitment to education. The sponsorship included travel accommodations and tuition to the institute’s conference. The institute’s purpose was to allow teachers from all over the country to discuss environmental problems from their respective areas, and to convey them without bias. There were 41 teachers in attendance at the conference with 13 from Florida. Teachers from Texas, Maryland, Illinois, Alabama, California, Colorado and Rhode Island were also represented at the conference.


            The institute’s daily activities emphasized hands on group work, which allowed teachers work through environmental problems as their students would in the classroom. Many activities were based outdoors to encourage teachers to take their classes away from the four walls of the school building. The institute was careful to design their activities to encourage the use of environmental classrooms. Teachers were able to have a firsthand look at Global Positioning System (GPS) and how to incorporate this technology into the classroom. One all day activity brought the teachers to the rivers and streams of the Rocky Mountains. Here, teachers were instructed  to collect water samples and other materials, which encouraged team building amongst the groups


            Duke Energy’s generosity allowed many teachers to attend this fascinating and informative conference. This Colorado setting allowed them to learn valuable teaching skills for their students. Mr. Hughes was given new equipment and other resources for his classroom. Duke Energy has made additional promises of financial resources to enhance the education experience in the Hamilton County School System. Mr. Hughes looks forward to bringing his new lessons to the classroom to enhance his students’ educational experiences at Central Hamilton Elementary.