One of our ambitions at Next Day Solar, was to share our knowledge with younger generations, after all they will be the one's that will be cleaning up the mess we have made.
One of the ways we can all live more sustainably, is generating and using our own power, reducing our reliance on the grid, which, in-turn will reduce the amount of fossil fuels being burnt, and the number of power plants being created.
If homes in 10 years time generate their own energy, think of how much copper would be saved when new homes are built, reducing any requirement to be connected to the grid !
We've started visiting a number of schools and clubs, and if you are keen for us to visit your nursery/school/college or event please get in touch.
Clean sheet of paper...
We began assuming those I was talking to new absolutely nothing about electricity, let alone solar energy.
Introduction (ages 4 and upwards)
For younger children I usually start with a wind turbine in my hand, which is powered using a solar panel, using a handy torch I am able to demonstrate 'magic' by making the wind turbine spin with only the power of light. This is a good way to dive into energy and electricity. A few easy questions such as (what is making the propellor spin) can be helpful.
From here, we start to talk about electricity, what do we use when we wake up in the morning ? what makes the lights shine, what else does electricity power.
Now we've introduced the concept of energy, I start to discuss how electricity gets to the house. I use a large gauge DC cable, with red and black covers to illustrate the principle.
From here the discussion moves to how energy is made, most children will talk about static/friction/rubbing from things like jumping on a trampoline, or rubbing a balloon. I like to talk about power stations, nuclear, wind, hydro as places that energy is made. We then move on and talk about the dirtier means of making electricity such as coal fired plants.
I have created a small dynamo and light setup, and at this point I generate my own electricity, to try to demonstrate the notion that energy doesn't have to be made in all of these distant places.
To make the session fun, each child is given the opportunity of having a go generating their own electricity, on the winder which keeps everyone very engaged.
For younger children, I then bring along a set of solar powered toys, and let the children play with these. One of the best games is letting the cars race against each other. One of the best ways to educate the children about the suns energy, is to let the children cover the panels with their hands, and then un-cover and watch the toys come to life.
Typically, I finish the session talking about where solar panels could fit on a home, and get the children to draw a house with solar panels on top of it.
We are able to tailor our experiential classes for all ages.
Here we demonstrate how solar energy can be transformed to power lights, and then introduce a battery/inverter system to demonstrate how energy can be stored for use when the sun isn't shining.