Students Learn Simple Solar Energy at Horne Street Elementary School
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On Friday, June 11 the second grade classes at Horne Street Elementary School took an hour out of their busy schedule to learn about renewable energy, and build their own machines with the help of their teachers Mmes. Breen, Pike, Knox, Tokenol.
“Energy is the ability to do work,” explained ReVision’s Will Kessler. Each student then put their own kinetic energy to the test, rubbing their hands together to make heat, and blowing on windmills of their own construction to make wind energy.
At the end of the presentation, students made their way outside to see if there was enough solar energy on this cloudy overcast morning to power a small DC motor and run the windmills without any wind.
It turned out there was – a small PV panel was enough to cause motion! One second-grade student in Mrs. Breen’s class said: “I thought it was too cloudy, but that was awesome!!!”
Today’s solar cells use reliable technology for harvesting light, which means that the modules work with or without direct sunlight. Even on a cloudy day in New England, there is enough light reflected and refracted amongst clouds for a solar panel to produce at over 50% capacity. During this demonstration each 2.4V (peak) panel was producing roughly 1.2 volts DC.
Afterwards, students had lots of questions about energy: how it’s used, how it’s applied, and, as is often the case – lots of ideas!
Our favorite part – a student’s drawing showing the connection of the small solar array to the windmill’s working motor: