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I'm sure some of you will have already taken classes on Solar. The reason I am posting this question is to help out two Farmers in Kauai, Hawaii. They are currently creating an extension program through their farm to help teach children and others that visit.

Now, even though they have solar on the Farm, the one doing the classes does not have experience and is not sure how to start explaining how all of this works.

Does anyone have good (maybe with illustrated examples) resources for teaching primarily children about solar. I will post more information about what type of panels and such when I have it.

There will be other subjects also taught on the farm. But I will post separate questions for them.

  • Come on people, children are the future. Teach them! Haha – DTDev Feb 24 '14 at 20:27
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    Are you interested in solar thermal (eg for heating water), or photovoltaics (ie solar electricity), or both? – Highly Irregular Feb 25 '14 at 1:36
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    What age of children? What knowledge can we assume they have already? – EnergyNumbers Feb 26 '14 at 11:46
  • I'll get more information now. I'm not sure what kind of solar it is. – DTDev Feb 27 '14 at 1:01
  • @DTDev the resources in the answer below are more or less general in terms of age group – user1017 Feb 27 '14 at 17:14
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Okay, given that the age of children is not known, here are some general teaching resources about solar energy that may be useful:

Energy teaching resources from the New South Wales Department of Environment and Heritage, this web page contains many links to specific teaching resources, particularly, the scaffolded education resource Solar power farm in space, which could be adapted.

The Science Education page from the US Department of Energy has links to 2 videos about solar power, including one where 4th graders discuss and explore how to take their class 'off the grid'.

Solar Energy International have a resourceful web page Resources for Educators, as does DTE Energy with their resource-link page Teachers' Solar Power Resource Guide, the latter has about a dozen or so more annotated links.

I hope this helps.

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Solar shower could be a fun project.

  • Plastic bag, on a black sheet, on a white sheet, on metal sheet, tin foil, black plastic ?

  • Plenty of fun making and creating.

  • Put them out in the morning.

  • Come back after lunch and test them, compared to a control. Take a show (probably a bad idea) wash your hands, feel how "We've made hot water, with no power, fire electricity, gas, ... ).

Write up the project.

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Thanks for the feedback DTDev, your comments have inspired me to add some further notes.

There could be 2 controls.

  • 1st filled same time as the others (but kept in the dark), so it picks up only ambient air temp.

  • 2nd filled at measurement time from cold source.

1st should be warmer than 2nd, only slightly, but hopefully big jump in temp to sun soaked bags.

Part two

Also like your idea about battery affect and latency, so a 2nd half/part could demonstrate drain down, which could be added/combined as a part two.

Two jars one with water one without each with thermometer, kept in shade both pick up ambient temperature. Put the lids back on and remove both to the cold (fridge), air filled should drop faster than water jar.

I thought the first would appeal to younger students, the 2nd experiment can be added for older students.

  • I really like this idea! – DTDev Mar 3 '14 at 18:08
  • I know the solar shower already exists. I may just attempt to make a black plastic/rubber bag with a thermometer on the inside with the thermometer display on the outside. We can move it to the shade or into the sun to show the difference. I like the idea because the water(higher latent heat than the air around it) ends up saving the energy of the sun like it was a battery. Awesome example, especially if we use mirrors/colors/foil to change the input of sun. – DTDev Mar 3 '14 at 18:21
  • Also, of course wash their hands with it so they can feel the warm water. – DTDev Mar 3 '14 at 18:22
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    Good idea, the concept of having something store energy isn't as intuitive to everyone without a comparison between "batteries". Time to start researching some liquids with high latent heat haha to do the opposite end of the spectrum, compared to air. To add to the Second part, for the same reason it would stay hotter longer, it will take longer to heat up. The air will reach ambient temperature before water will. – DTDev Mar 3 '14 at 19:22
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One thing I've found fun is Snap Circuits. Though they have both an educational version, and a renewables kit, it is kind of broad (electronics in general), and doesn't just do solar.

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