Thanks to an Innovative Learning Grant from CREF, a collaborative team of teachers have been able to design a program that will bring lessons and activities involving solar energy to all ten elementary schools. During this first year of the program, staff spent time learning about the materials and creating manuals to be used by different grade levels. The teachers worked together after school and in the evenings to design packaging, instructions, student workbooks and a trial of the program.
During the 2014-15 school year, approximately 40 students at Sol Feinstone, who are members of the Green Team, piloted the Solar Suitcases. One fourth grader remarked, “Using the Solar Suitcases was very fun and exciting. You never knew what was going to happen next. When we plugged it in, the cell phone turned on and you could do anything with it!” The solar suitcases have helped the students think about alternate forms of energy. As one fifth grader noted, “When we were using the Solar Suitcases, it was cool to see how well the sun can power things. It shows that we can help our environment by using solar instead of fossil fuels. It was also fun to see how easy it was.”
Once the pilot program is complete, each elementary school in the district will have one suitcase to use with the first, fourth, and sixth grade science programs. Students will gain insight into the way the technology works with this concrete, hands-on experience. The suitcases are designed to inspire future leaders in the field of alternative energy.