It’s about time we connect more schools with . Imagine being a child learning about and how it helps the planet by taking a virtual field trip – to your very own school! In Arlington, VA, this is actually happening. is a school in the area that allows to explore using an online energy dashboard. Students have the ability to check out their school and learn how solar/renewable energy-friendly features such as insulated exterior walls and LED lights are being used to make a difference – on a solar scale. Students can even learn about how solar and renewable sources are being used in the kitchen. Close to 2,000 are spread across the roof of the school (1,700, to be exact). But these aren’t just any solar panels. These solar panels rotate – so when the sun moves, the solar panels do, too. Children are learning how and why this is such a wonderful creation.

Food for Thought: An Abundance of Energy

Discovery Elementary takes things a step further, too. The school keeps track of its own energy generation. Students are able to learn about the energy generation through brightly colored pie charts and graphs. One realization has been that the school generates a greater amount of energy through the use of its solar array than it actually uses in a year. Wow!

Schools focused on solar improvements are coming up everywhere – regardless of income, political beliefs and location. Did you know that as per the Department of Energy, K-12 schools, on an annual basis, run up an energy tab worth billions ($6 billion)? This is actually more than they spend on computers and textbooks combined!

There is a great deal that students are gaining at Discovery Elementary as they brainstorm renewable and solar energy data.  Students are figuring out how much solar energy is being used by the school using fractions. The building uses geothermal pumps, solar inverters and more – and students are fascinated by them.

There is a rooftop solar lab that allows students to learn about the behavior of light. They are able to study how angling solar panels in a different way modifies their power production. Discovery Elementary is really taking things to solar heights – energy is no longer an invisible concept to students, because they can now see features such as solar panels just outside of the window. They can see how solar energy production lessens depending on how cloudy it is outside. This encourages critical thinking skills, while showing those who will run our future how to look at things in a new light (no pun intended).

Sustainability and the benefits of solar power need to be taught to receptive individuals who will one day lead our country. Students want to learn how to make a positive difference for our planet, and showing them how solar power functions is a great start.

According to Discovery Art Teacher Maria Burke, “We want to give students the skills to be innovators, to find solutions.” She elaborated, stating that the school wants the students to be thinkers for the future, and the goal is to have them innovate and collaborate with the world in mind.

Follow solar news to stay on top of the latest developments in the world of solar and renewable energy, and stay in the loop regarding how green sources will be used to power new and existing schools.

Sources:

https://www.wired.com/story/solar-panels-power-new-schools-and-new-ways-of-learning/

https://www.apsva.us/post/discovery-elementary-school-certified-as-largest-zero-energy-building-to-date/

 

 

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