Solar panels on the school building offer a good opportunity to give attention to sustainability in the lessons.
Introduction lesson "Solar power for everybody"
Solar energy loses much of its mystique for children by the PicoSol solar energy introduction lesson "Solar power for everybody". The lesson discusses the opportunities that solar energy offers for the Netherlands and developing countries. During the lesson the children make their own sunflower that is able to rotate using a mini solar panel on the flower.
The lesson "Solar power for everybody" is already given at hundreds of schools in the Netherlands. The lesson materials are available at the Downloads on this site. The other materials (mainly the sunflowers) can be ordered through the website of PicoSol (click here).
The interactive information display
The solar panel installation is usually not very visible, especially when they are placed on a flat roof. A solution for this is a display, which is visible for everybody. In the example project "Sun on the Kubus" an interactive display for children is placed just at the entrance: the VisiKid. The display shows the energie yield by using a rotating sun, two marble bowls and a ladder of lights. The brighter the sun shines the faster the more lights burn and the faster the sun rotates. At every rotation a marble is moved from the top tray to the lowest tray. The pupils can see from the lights how much electricity is generated at the moment. Once a month they put the marbles again in the top tray and so they know what the value is of the generated energy. Thus, they learn that in the summer in sunny weather more electricity is generated than in the winter in claudy weather. By involving the children, it becomes obvious that electricity generation is related to the weather.
Solar power on digiboards
It is also possible to follow the output of the solar panels on the digiboards in the lessons. In the example project "Sun on the Kubus" is the Webbox purchased for this purpose, that sends information about the output to the Internet.
Graph with the daily output of the system on the Kubus, displayed on the web page via www.zonschool.nl.
Due to the digiboards older children can together with the teacher learn to read the Webbox. The yield of the solar panels is sampled by the converter and made available through a Webbox over the Internet. Zon@School has equipped its own page for the school, on what all information about the solar installation can be found.
Also in developing countries
The nice introduction lesson can also be given in the developing country itself, of course. PicoSol uses this when raising awareness about the possibilities of solar panels in rural areas. It is a good opportunity to motivate people in the community around the SolarSchool to use this infinite source of energy too.