Earlier this year we were able to participate in the annual Punahou School Sustainability Fair which allows students and their families gain increased awareness about living sustainably. With solar education readily available and events held year-round, it seems like students are learning more about solar power at earlier ages. They are aware of topics such as carbon footprints, renewable resources and lessening our dependency on fossil fuels. Needless to say, we were impressed to see how familiar many of the students were on the topic of solar power and how it works.
Teaching kids about solar power, a topic that can even be confusing to adults, can be a complicated task. Here are a few directions one can take to get children interested in learning about solar.
Terminology like kilowatts and kilowatt-hours can be confusing, and so showing this data with pictures and graphs helps to visually explain concepts that would otherwise be difficult to grasp. Things to think about: How much energy does our house use vs. how much electricity do our Solar Panels produce? How do the different times of day and weather affect the amount of electricity our PV system produces?
Using science projects or other technology can increase interest and knowledge about important topics. Look at an existing PV and monitoring system to allow kids to measure and track usage and production of electricity, or use simple math to estimate which appliances use the most electricity.
View live solar data here
There are toys, cars, and solar kits that use solar technology on a much smaller scale; this helps kids to see how sunlight can be turned into energy, movement, or power.
Access the online site that the US Department of Energy has created shows kids just how interesting learning about renewable energy and energy efficiency can be.