By: Susan Peers, 6th Grade Teacher, Union Middle School August 2014
Union Middle School Sixth Graders were given hands-on Solar Education through the One Million Lights program of educating our youth last Spring.
The One Million Lights’ curriculum was well laid out in three lesson plans: Solar Energy-An Introduction, Solar Technology and Its Global Application, and Solar Energy-the Science behind how it is created.
Our students first attended an interactive power point presentation given by Jennifer Greene, Director of Operations for One Million Lights. Our students were engaged, asking questions, and learning about students their age that do not have access to nightly lighting for studying and reading as they take for granted.
In class, our students were given the opportunity to experience what it is like to study by solar lanterns, inspiring them to share their stories on experiences like camping using flashlights at night or when the lights went out because of a storm on occasion and they used candles to see. They really couldn’t imagine having to do homework or read by kerosene lanterns.
Finally students were given a hands-on lab using a solar kit which measured the sun’s energy output looking at the Sun’s angle in relation to our Earth. Many of the students even went further by graphing their findings; raising this lesson to a higher level of understanding on the output of the Sun’s energy.
The One Million Lights’ curriculum was a perfect introduction for our sixth graders to begin their solar awareness on the use and advantages of using solar energy as an alternative to fossil fuels.
As a Sixth Grade Science teacher promoting our Go-Green School here in San Jose, CA, I highly recommend this program for its excellent, hands-on curriculum engaging students’ interest and increased awareness of smart energy alternatives!