Last week we shared the story of Aaron’s class -- a group of fourth grade students in Durham, North Carolina, who are using solar energy to power their classroom.
The students set this ambitious goal after studying energy sources and electricity in class. Taking inspiration from the success of the project, we’re sharing some of our favorite solar education resources for kids, parents and teachers:
Learn Solar Basics
Before Aaron’s students could launch their own solar project, they needed to develop a deep understanding of how solar panels work. Take a look at our Energy 101: Solar PV video for a breakdown of how solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. Watch Aaron’s class give a video explanation of how their solar system works.
Once you understand the basic principles, branch out and study the variety of applications for this steadily evolving technology. Visit our solar basics page for a comprehensive overview.
Put what you’ve learned about solar energy into practice by launching your own project. To experience firsthand the abundant power of the sun, try making a solar oven. These simple devices use the energy of direct sunlight to cook food and heat water. There are different styles of solar ovens to choose from -- start with our step-by-step guide to building a solar oven using a pizza box or follow this solar cooker guide put together by a fifth grade class in Dublin, Ohio.
Find motivation and spark ideas for your own solar pursuits by following the progress of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon teams. This award-winning competition challenges university students to design, build and operate solar-powered houses. Visit solardecathlon.gov for photos, videos and regular updates from each of the competing teams.
Once you’ve explored these solar energy activities, take it a step further and try out our list of energy-related education projects for the summer.