One-hundred schools across the UK are about to start using a new specially devised teaching resource in the classroom to raise awareness of renewable energy and carbon savings among children aged 7 and upwards. It includes a mini solar panel kit and is being rolled out by a partnership between Lightsource, the UK’s leading solar energy generator, and pioneering international charity, SolarAid.
Since 2011, Lightsource has installed photovoltaic systems in 100 of the country’s schools, and it is these same schools that will be supplied with the new resource pack. In it, teachers will find a whole host of helpful and stimulating lesson ideas, worksheets, and teaching aids to help children reach a deeper understanding of renewable energy and its importance in a global context. For example, they will be encouraged to carry out set tasks such as monitoring, measuring and analysing the levels of solar energy being produced by photovoltaic panels at their school.
The pack also includes information on the effects of climate change currently causing problems for the planet, such as the destruction of coral reefs, melting ice caps, and flooding. They will then be taught how solar energy can play a significant role in addressing these challenges and its vital importance to our future. In one exercise, children will be asked to work in pairs to create their own solar power circuit to light an LED using a special mini panel kit. In another, they will create a climate change awareness campaign through presentations at school assembly, leaflets to parents and a draft letter to their local MP.
For teachers, helpful lesson ideas and instructions include holding a ‘Question Time’ type classroom debate about climate change, building a solar car and partnering a school in Africa to help provide them with solar panels on their roof too. Another interesting example is the use of drama where the students take on roles within a small town community, playing characters such as a local councillor and a farmer who has applied for planning permission to turn some of his fields into a solar farm. The exercise would culminate in a town council meeting to debate the request and decide whether or not to grant approval.
Kathy Hill, Education Manager at SolarAid comments, “We are thrilled to be partnering with Lightsource to bring renewable energy education to schools across the UK. By utilising these practical, engaging resources, teachers will be able to bring solar energy to life in the classroom – quite literally.”
James Lee, MD of Lightsource Asset Management adds, “The Government wants 30% of the UK’s electricity output to come from renewable sources by 2020. This is quite a challenge, given that the current estimate is in the region of 7%. We believe that by helping to educate our young people in this way and inspiring energy-saving behaviour change, we are helping to make that target more achievable.”
In fact, the benefit of this partnership is intended to spread far beyond home shores by making children aware of the life-changing potential of solar energy in poorer countries such as those in Africa. Even though many regions of Africa have the highest levels of sunshine in the world, only 2% of rural areas have access to electricity via the power grid. This translates into an unsustainable dependence on dangerous kerosene lamps. SolarAid’s core work aims to spread the use of solar power as a cheaper, safer and greener alternative.
For further information about the new renewable energy teaching resource pack or installing an energy-saving photovoltaic system on your property, please visit www.lightsource-re.co.uk or phone 0333 200 0755.