The following blog is contributed by Dan Davies of the '14 Cohort.
Just before Christmas, Lucy, Keith and I teamed up to pay a visit to St Saviour’s Infant School in Bath. Lucy is part of the New and Sustainable Photovoltaics CDT and all three of us are working in the Walsh group here in Bath so are naturally keen advocates of solar energy. As such, we were delighted to have the opportunity to visit the soon to be ‘Solar School’.
St Saviour’s is currently going through the process of raising £20,000 in order to ‘go solar’ and put photovoltaic cells on their roof so they will be able to generate a significant portion of their energy renewably. As part of this bid they were keen for us to come in and run some workshops for year 2 to explore the key concepts of solar and renewable energy in general.
In the workshops, we first tried to get to the bottom of where all the energy that we rely on every day actually comes from and whether these sources of energy will last forever. We even began to think about converting energy from one kind to another using such props as torches and solar-powered cars as well as the now famous CSCT bike which Lucy used to generate electricity to play music. I think it’s fair to say that the children were all very engaged and some imaginations were sparked.
‘Dr Keith’, as he quickly became known at the school, reflected on the workshops:
“The research we do is useless without a growth in social awareness of the importance of the move towards renewable energy. Having the opportunity to interact with the students when they are so eager to learn about new things and to introduce them to some of the key concepts in solar power is absolutely amazing.”
We were all very impressed with how much the students already knew about renewable energy and how quickly they picked up on new concepts to do with what science really is about, such as how to carry out a fair experiment - we had some vinegar, baking soda and balloons on hand to help with this one!
One of the year 2 parents took some great video footage during the workshops, which made the final cut of a general promotional video below for the school’s solar fundraising campaign. We also received some fabulous thank you letters after Christmas from the children who all seemed to get a lot out of our visit and were extremely keen for us to return. Maybe we’ll be invited back for the grand opening of their solar panels…