Three groups of students from Lynbrook South Middle School have reached the final 15 of PSEG’s I am EM-Powered Program and Student Challenge, which saw students from all over Long Island create 30 to 45 second public service announcement videos promoting efficient energy use.
From January to April 7, students worked on and submitted their videos to be viewed by a panel of judges from PSEG. 4,347 student participants ranging from fourth to eighth grades across 32 schools in Nassau, Suffolk, and the Rockaways created 206 environmental PSA videos.
The PSEG funded program included cross-circular lessons in science, social studies, and ELA classes for participating school curriculums. Lessons were aligned to school standards and designed to be adaptable to remote, in-person, and hybrid learning. The program aimed to teach students about energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.
Lynbrook South Middle School earth science teacher Matthew Schneck and the 85 other participating teachers were only able to submit their top three groups per class. The program and lessons allowed Earth science educators to tie conservation into the school curriculum.
For the PSA part of the program, students were given class time to plan out their videos. Schneck’s eighth grade earth science class, which had two groups reach the final 15 PSAs, spent plenty of their free time putting their videos together. “The students were able to make connection between what we were learning in the classroom and real-world conservation,” Schneck said.
PSAs covered topics like renewable energy, recycling, and pollution to identify problems and solutions for global environmentalism. The videos were judged on educational content and technical aspects.
Schneck noted that the project was most importantly a teaching tool but was also heartened by the enthusiasm students had to collaborate with each other. “For middle schoolers, it’s been a challenging time,” Schneck said. “But, for them to overcome those challenges and collaborate virtually and in-person, it was really impressive.”
The eighth-grade teacher also noted how quickly his students picked up the creative and technologically driven aspects of the project. “I was kind of blown away by how they did with the technology,” Schneck said. “We just gave them the assignment and they ran with it.”
“We are very pleased with the positive feedback from students and teachers,” PSEG’s Director of Utility Marketing Suzanne Brienza said in a statement. “All of us at PSEG Long Island are looking forward to the lessons these young environmental advocates will teach us about what we can do to protect and nurture our planet.”
“We’re really excited to see what these little Earth advocates are going to be sharing with us and teaching us,” Senior Communications Generalist at PSEG Amy Di Leo said.
The ten winning groups and their video PSAs were revealed on Earth Day, April 22 at 10:30 a.m. via Zoom. The winning students in Schneck's class, Zia Baluyot and Val Tuosto, may have the opportunity to interview with a representative from PSEG Long Island.