The Community Adventure Program (CAP) students at STRIVE Prep –RISE had a lofty goal: to have their new school building reflect their values and environmental ethics. These students are the first Freshman class at STRIVE RISE and realize that their actions set the course for the school’s sustainable future. This semester they envisioned and designed a solar charging station for their new campus.
First they researched the need for a charging station. Every student has a laptop provided by the school. They sent out a survey to all the students to determine how many of them charge their laptops at school each day. Their survey revealed that almost all of the students need to charge their computers at school from time to time and that the student body was very interested in charging their laptops sustainably. So they brainstormed a variety of designs for solar charging stations at school. After looking at all the designs, one of the students made a final design for an outdoor charging station that had a table and benches for socializing and overhead shade provided by solar panels.
They presented it to the school administration who are very excited about incorporating it into the new school building. Because their school is still being built, the students couldn’t do hands-on work in the actual building of the station. They wanted to learn exactly how a solar panel worked, so they researched it, then built solar fuel cells using copper sheeting in recycled bottles filled with salt water. Some of the students were still having difficulty in grasping exactly how they worked, so a group of students designed an active tag game to explain the process. Then a group of them presented their project at the Civic Action Showcase and absolutely blew the judging panel away with their knowledge and enthusiasm.
To celebrate all they had learned and to teach the rest of the school about alternative energy, they held an alternative energy dance party during finals week. Students used stationary bikes to power the sound system while teachers and the rest of the student body did the Cha Cha Slide and sang along to Despacito. Students DJ’d on equipment from EnergiLAB and powered the DJ booth, bubble machines, and lights with bikes and solar panels. Everyone agreed that it was a fantastic way to relieve finals week stress and squeak in some last-minute hands-on learning at the end of the school year.
A big thank you to Joe Callahan, founder of EnergiLAB, for his partnership!
Written by CAP class instructor, Erin Angel