My students need materials for investigation of solar power - from sundials to shadow prints, to solar cooking, water heating and solar powered cars.
My students are fascinated by the radiometer and the model solar car on my classroom windowsill. I want to harness that curiosity to teach them about solar energy with hands on projects. Solar power is part of our fifth grade curriculum. These projects will be ones that they will remember!
My students are 4th and 5th graders with special needs who all attend an urban school in their mostly Latino neighborhood.
Our school is a large public school with no money for materials this year (not even paper!). Many of my students are either bilingual or English Language Learners as well as having learning issues, so hands-on projects like this are tremendously engaging and sometimes the only way to rekindle an interest in the kind of academic learning with which they have struggled, and/or given up on in years past.
My students are begging to make solar cars since they saw the one I made last summer sitting on my classroom windowsill. My plan is to teach them about solar energy with a whole series of hands-on projects that will include making sundials, shadow prints, a solar water heater, cooking in a solar box oven, and culminating in a project where each student designs and builds a solar car to present to class, race in the school yard, and keep for their own.
This project is near and dear to my heart because I want my students to learn science with real materials, not just by reading from outdated textbooks that are written at a reading level they cannot understand.
I am sure that this will be a winning unit that I can use year after year with my students to grab their attention and keep them focused on learning about this important energy source.
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