Like science, have a love of energy or simply like the idea of teaching sixth-graders? The 4-H Youth Development Program in Clackamas County is looking for adults who would like to share their knowledge and time a few hours per month with sixth-grade students during school hours to talk electricity, energy and renewable resources.

Though teaching experience (formal or nonformal) or a knowledge of electricity is helpful, only an enjoyment of working with young people is required.

“We could use more volunteers,” said Janet Nagele, 4-H youth development educator. “Every year we are expanding the program to more and more schools in the Metro area. This is a free program offered to schools.”

Volunteers assist a 4-H classroom instructor to provide “hands-on” science lessons on the topics of electricity and renewable energy. Subject matter expertise and teaching skills are provided through volunteer training and mentoring.

“The program has been in development for three years and been introduced into schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties,” Nagele said. “We’ve actually been in three schools in Canby during that time.

“We work with teachers and students to learn about energy,” she continued. “We help teachers reach the science benchmark for sixth grade specifically and help build a teacher’s capacity to each science by increasing energy literacy.”

The course curriculum, which lasts 13-15 hours, helps explain the creation and use of electricity and different sources of energy, including renewable energy sources such as hydro, wind and solar. At the end of the course, the children get a chance to build and improve solar powered cars.

“The students do all kinds of experiments around energy and finish with the solar powered cars,” Nagele said. “They love it because it’s hands on.”

The course is geared specifically for sixth grade and looks for volunteers who like working with youth. Nagele said they have a number of volunteers who have worked in the energy and electricity fields, as well as former teachers, but they are interested in anyone who simply wants to build into the lives of students.

Training itself is a one-day investment for volunteers. Then the volunteers are mentored by an instructor in the classroom setting. Time can turn a volunteer into a mentor who teaches the courses, or they can remain assistants if they choose.

“It just depends on the volunteer,” Nagele said.

All volunteers must complete a volunteer application and background check. Time commitment and duration varies depending on volunteer availability.

“Some teachers like to stretch the program out over time while others like to have us come in and do a week-long program,” Nagele said. “it’s up to them. It really gets hands-on in the classroom. Students are very active in doing the experiments and noting the results. “

To volunteer or find out more information, contact Nagele, 4-H youth development educator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 503-650-3125.

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