This video and article show how a fourth-grade class in Durham, North Carolina learned about solar energy, raised money to buy solar panels, and installed solar panels to power their classroom.
Students will learn about renewable energy and see an example of successful and inspiring climate action at the classroom level.
This video will inspire and guide students who want to install solar panels at their schools.
A short article provides several links, including a link to the class's Kickstarter campaign, which raised over $5,000 for the project.
Students should understand the environmental benefits of renewable energy and why it is more sustainable than electricity from fossil fuels.
Students should understand that every school is different, and some classes might face more obstacles to switching to solar energy than others.
The link in the article to energy.gov does not work.
Students could create a flowchart of the people that would have to approve a solar panel project at their school. Students could use this article on solar power in schools to gather information, then create a presentation for decision-makers on why their class would benefit from switching to solar power.
This is a 4-minute video produced by the US Department of Energy and it showcases a 4th-grade class that researched and installed solar panels to make their classroom off the grid. This video was produced in 2013; now solar panels are the most cost-effective way to generate electricity. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
4-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and that their uses affect the environment.
5-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.
ETS1: Engineering Design
3-5-ETS1-1 Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
4-PS3-4 Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
D4.7.6-8 Assess their individual and collective capacities to take action to address local, regional, and global problems, taking into account a range of possible levers of power, strategies, and potential outcomes.
D4.7.3-5 Explain different strategies and approaches students and others could take in working alone and together to address local, regional, and global problems, and predict possible results of their actions.