Sullivan Solar Power recently spent an afternoon teaching the STEM Academy of West Orange Elementary school how solar energy works and what to take into consideration when designing a solar power system.
The STEM Academy is currently building a physical model of a sustainable farm. The goal is to learn how to use solar energy to save on energy costs and reduce the world’s carbon footprint. Sullivan Solar Power’s employees taught the children about solar thermal versus solar photovoltaic, what solar modules are made of, how to design a solar power system and the financial and environmental benefits of solar energy.
The after-school STEM Academy program has been offered for the last three years and is designed to excite students with hands-on challenges and activities in science, technology, engineering, and math, strengthening the student’s problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
During the first year of STEM, the program’s focus was on mechanical engineering projects, the second year’s focus was environmental engineering projects, and this year they’re focused on “Maker Space” challenge projects.
“We are a Title One School, predominantly Hispanic, that has been designated a low performing school, but has motivated students with potential. They need the Maker Space resources the most,” said Vicki Anderson, the program director and a teacher at West Orange Elementary. “I hope to provide our students and the after-school STEM club students I teach, an opportunity to become scientists and engineers who can dream, plan, invent, test, and ready their creations for sharing with others.”
The afterschool program is designed to be a designated area where students can experiment, investigate, problem-solve, design and make projects both collaboratively and independently.
Last school year, the STEM Academy sent two teams to present at California State University, Fullerton’s “Our Future Now: Sustainability Showcase.” One of West Orange Elementary school’s club teams won first place at the elementary level.
Sullivan Solar Power is proud to have been a part of this experience, supporting our society’s future clean energy advocates and engineers!