September 2017 to June 2018 Announcements
Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools
By the Solar Energy Industries Association,
The Solar Foundation and Generation 180
There are approximately 5,500 schools across the country with solar installations that are saving money on electric bills, educating students about clean energy, and ensuring a brighter future for the next generation. A dramatic decline in the cost of solar panels combined with new financing options has now made solar widely accessible, creating tremendous untapped potential among the majority of our nation’s schools still without solar.
The Solar Energy Industries Association, along with partners at The Solar Foundation and Generation 180, have developed Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools, a comprehensive report that explores the current state of solar deployment on K-12 schools nationwide. The report, available at the link below, includes analysis and case studies, but if you would like to view a full database of the U.S. schools with solar systems, download the spreadsheet here. Download the Infographic & Full Report here.
Nebraskans for Solar Educational Opportunities
NFS Has Battery-Generators for Solar Powered Events and Education
By Jared Friesen, Nebraskans for Solar Past President, NABCEP Solar Designer
Nebraskans for Solar is always looking for ways to bring clean and reliable solar energy to events and to those interested in learning more about renewable energy in general. With special support from the Omaha Venture Group, we now have tools to store solar energy in a battery and convert it back to standard plug power to provide usable solar energy day or night, indoors or out. If you could use a solar battery-generator for an educational session, are interested in using a solar battery-generator at a sustainability-related event, or have other questions–we want to hear from you! Please contact us for more information. Photo: Paired with the two new Humless Go Mini battery-generators are two foldable 130-watt portable solar panels. A full battery-generator charge from empty can be completed in 2.5-4 hours with these solar panels.
More Solar Energy Education Opportunities
Please visit Nebraskans for Solar’s Website and Facebook page for announcements
about community events, news, free webinars and other resources: www.nebraskansforsolar.org
Learn About The KidWind Challenge
The KidWind Challenge is a wind turbine design competition for middle and high school students. To learn more about the competition, watch a brief overview video of the KidWind Challenge and see what students think. KidWind Project director Michael Arquin posted a video recording of a recent webinar describing the 2017-2018 KidWind Challenge and how teams can participate. A slideshow that can be downloaded and adapted by users is also available.
MORE Nature Nights
Click image to link to MORE Nature’s website.
MORE Nature (Metro Omaha Resources for Exploring Nature) hosts free Nature Nights at Metro Omaha schools. Nebraska Solar Schools will be among the 20+ organizations sponsoring stations with numerous nature-based activities for parents and their children at these schools:
Spring 2018 Nature Nights
- Rockbrook Elementary, 2514 S 108th Street: March 8, 5-7 pm
- Adams Elementary, 3420 N 78th Street, April 10, 5-7 pm
- Wheeler Elementary, 6707 S 178th Street, April 17, 5-7 pm
- Sunset Hills Elementary, 9503 Walnut Street: May 3, 5-7 pm
Nebraska Solar Schools volunteers will offer the following activities at each school:
Paint a Suncatcher
Write a Sun Haiku: Haiku (俳句) is a traditional form of Japanese poetry often inspired by nature. Haiku poems traditionally consist of 17 syllables on 3 lines. The first and last lines have 5 syllables each and the middle line has 7 syllables.
An alternative form of haiku has 11 syllables, with the first and last lines each consisting of 5 syllables and the middle line with 7. Haiku poems rarely rhyme. One way to start a haiku is to brainstorm ideas and words related to an experience or moment of beauty.
Participate in a Sun Singalong: How many songs can you think of with the word “sun” in them? Which ones are your favorites? Write the titles of one or more of your favorite “sun songs” on a large sheet of sun-shaped paper. Join in on a singalong.
The Nebraska Solar Schools’ activity station will also have copies of one of our most popular handouts: 25 Links to Solar, Wind & Energy Conservation Projects and Activities.
MORE Nature Nights Organizer: Christine Jacobsen
Education Programs Supervisor
Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District
Sun Prints Activity at Previous MORE Nature Nights
At two previous Nature Nights, Nebraska Solar Schools’ activity was Sun Print Greeting Card Kits. Sun print paper, also called Nature Print Paper, is available at Blick Art Materials, 7829 Dodge Street in Omaha. Nature Print Paper and Nature Print Kits are also available at the company’s website and other online art and hobby supplies stores. Blank greeting cards and envelopes are sold at most hobby stores.
For the M.O.R.E. Nature Nights activity, we used the small paper in the Nature Print Kit, which comes with 80 sheets of sun-sensitive paper and 6 transparencies with several images on each one. The paper is just the right size to glue to the front of small blank greeting cards.
Additional Examples of K-12 STEAM Projects & Activities
STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math
For school and community events, Nebraska Solar Schools Facilitator Helen Deffenbacher will have a notebook for parents and teachers with numerous examples of K-12 renewable energy lesson plans, projects and activities. If space allows, several completed projects will also be displayed that are suitable for science fairs, STEM / STEAM days, Earth Day, or any day of the year.
Below are four websites for students, teachers and parents, followed by links to individual examples of K-12 renewable energy projects and activities.
Additional K-12 Renewable Energy Projects & Activities
Most of the projects can be completed in an hour or two, while several require more time.
Sources: Nebraska Solar Schools, KidWind, Florida Solar Education Center, U.S. Department of Energy, Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Solar Energy International. If you print and share the projects and activities outside your classroom, please credit the source and provide the link.
K-12 Solar & Wind Projects & Activities
Kindergarten – Second Grade
- Sun Prints: See M.O.R.E. Nature Nights above.
- Sun & Me Poster
- Solar Cooker Plans: File Box Cooker
- Solar Cooker Plans: Cook-it Style Panel Cooker
- Recipes and Cooking Tips
- What’s Cooking 2
- Wind Watching
Grades 3 – 5
- What Do We Get From Solar Energy?
- Making a Sundial
- Triangle Game
- What’s Cooking?
- Poster Contest
- Energy is All Around Us Coloring Book
Grades 6 – 8
* New state science standards, which include climate change, are approved, Omaha World Herald
Grades 9 – 12
- Explore Careers & Other Renewable Energy Information at This Link: Clean Energy Jobs, Internships, Training Opportunities and Careers
- Student Competitions
- KidWind Challenge
- Introduction to Renewable Energy (RE100) is a free six-week, 10-lesson online course complete with videos, readings, quizzes, exercises and discussion forums. Deveolped for students 12 years of age to adults, it includes lessons in energy efficiency, solar thermal, solar electric, wind, micro-hydro, renewable energy in developing countries, and the economics of renewable energy. Solar Energy International encourages teachers to take this course and evaluate it as curriculum to be used with students. It’s available in English or Spanish. Click here for additional information or to register.
Additional resources can be found on these websites: