Many people are now aware of the critical importance of exploiting renewable energy. Teachers are keen to teach children about the issues involved in the classroom. Good teachers know that working models are a very good way of capturing pupil attention and stimulating interest.
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Deputy head teacher Julia Clarke was keen to teach pupils about the importance of saving energy and utilising green energy. She worked with Kathy Hill -- SolarAid’s education manager -- and several teacher colleagues. They considered the subjects of climate change and renewable energy, and how these topics could be taught in the classroom. They aimed to create educational resources to assist other teachers, with a focus on working model projects.
The resources designed by Ms. Clarke and colleagues included a model eco-house with small solar panels on the roof. You can replicate this project by building a model house out of cardboard. A box makes a good starting point. Add a pitched roof. Cut out windows so you will be able to add bulb holders inside and see the bulbs when they light up. You might want to paint the house green to highlight the green message.
Lighting the lights
Attach one or more small solar cells on the roof. As of April 2013, you can buy a 0.45 Watt solar cell, with a barrel plug on the end, for under £10. Connect the barrel plug to a miniature lamp holder inside the house. Insert a bulb in the lamp holder. When the solar cell is charged, the lamp should light up. To emphasise the importance of switching off lights when they are not needed, you might want to incorporate a switch between the solar cell and the bulb holder.
Solar garden light kit
You can use a solar garden light kit to illuminate a garden light. The kit uses solar energy to light up a white LED. In daytime, an AA battery charges up. When a detector recognises nighttime, the LED lights up. Despite the fact that nobody will be around in school to see it at night, this is still a good project for schools. The trick is to place a cardboard box with an eye-hole in it over the kit, near the end of the school day. This triggers the detector and the LED illuminates. You can see this by looking through the eye-hole.
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