Solar Power Learning Activities

solar panels

Solar energy in the UK - the good news!

Here are some recent good news reports about solar power use in the UK:

  1. Solar power sets new records in the UK - In June 2021, it was reported that solar power had set new records in the UK, generating over a third of the country's electricity demand for several days in a row.
  2. Community solar project launches in Scotland - In October 2021, a new community solar project was launched in Scotland, aiming to provide affordable, clean energy to residents of a low-income housing development. The project is expected to generate around 38,000 kWh of electricity annually.
  3. UK solar capacity reaches 14 GW milestone - In November 2021, it was reported that the UK's solar power capacity had reached a milestone of 14 GW, with more than 1 million homes now powered by solar energy.
  4. Solar panels to be installed on UK social housing - In August 2021, it was announced that solar panels would be installed on social housing in the UK, in a project aimed at reducing energy bills for low-income families and reducing carbon emissions.
  5. Solar farm opens in Cornwall - In September 2021, a new solar farm opened in Cornwall, capable of generating enough electricity to power over 10,000 homes. The project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by around 4,000 tonnes per year.

Solar Energy in the UK - the issues

Here are some recent issues that have been reported:

  1. Solar panel waste - As solar panels reach the end of their lifespan, there is a concern about how to dispose of them safely and sustainably. There are concerns that large numbers of old solar panels could end up in landfills, leading to environmental problems.
  2. Solar farm disputes - There have been some disputes between local communities and solar farm developers in the UK, with some residents concerned about the visual impact of solar farms and their potential impact on wildlife.
  3. Solar subsidies - In recent years, the UK government has reduced subsidies for solar energy, leading to some concerns about the future growth of the industry.
  4. Grid capacity issues - Some parts of the UK are experiencing grid capacity issues, which can make it difficult to connect new solar projects to the grid.
  5. Weather-dependent - Solar energy generation is dependent on weather conditions such as sunshine, which can make it difficult to generate consistent levels of power. In some parts of the UK, cloudy or overcast weather can limit the effectiveness of solar panels.

It is important to note that despite these challenges, solar energy is still seen as an important part of the UK's energy mix and is likely to play a growing role in the country's transition to a low-carbon economy.

Why teach children about solar energy?

Teaching children about solar energy has many benefits, including:

  1. Promoting environmental awareness: By teaching children about solar energy and solar power learning activities, you can help them understand the importance of using renewable energy sources and the impact that our energy choices have on the environment.
  2. Encouraging sustainability: By teaching children about solar energy, you can help them understand the importance of conserving resources and reducing their carbon footprint.
  3. Fostering curiosity and creativity: Learning about solar energy can inspire children to be curious about the world around them and to think creatively about solutions to environmental problems.
  4. Preparing them for the future: Renewable energy sources such as solar energy are becoming increasingly important as we work to address climate change. By teaching children about solar energy, you can help prepare them for a future in which renewable energy is likely to play a much larger role.
  5. Developing important skills: Building and experimenting with solar circuits can help children develop important skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and engineering.

Teaching children about solar energy is an important way to help them understand the world around them, promote environmental awareness, and prepare them for a future in which renewable energy will play an increasingly important role.

How to teach children about solar energy

Teaching children about solar energy can be a fun and engaging way to help them learn about renewable energy sources and the importance of sustainability. Here are some ways you can teach children about solar energy:

  1. Conduct experiments: You can conduct simple experiments with your children to help them understand how solar energy works. For example, you can use a magnifying glass to focus sunlight onto a piece of paper and show them how the paper can catch fire.
  2. Read books: There are many children's books that explain solar energy in a fun and engaging way. You can read books such as "The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip" or "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" to help your children learn about renewable energy sources.
  3. Visit solar installations: You can take your children to visit solar installations in your community to show them how solar panels work and how they are used to generate electricity.
  4. Play educational games: There are many educational games that teach children about renewable energy sources. For example, the game "Solar Lab" allows children to design and build their own solar-powered devices.
  5. Use solar-powered toys: Solar dancing toys are a great way of introducing children to solar energy in a fun way. They can be easily used in the classroom and children can explore how they work and how to create their own one. In addition, you can give your children toys that are powered by solar energy, such as solar-powered cars or robots. This can help them understand how solar energy can be used to power everyday objects.
  6. Conduct a solar energy project: You can work with your children on a solar energy project, such as building a solar-powered oven or creating a solar-powered toy. This can be a fun and engaging way to help them learn about solar energy while also developing their problem-solving and engineering skills.

By teaching children about solar energy, you can help them understand the importance of renewable energy sources and the role they can play in protecting the environment. Check out this range of solar energy lesson plans.

How to create a solar car

This video shows how to make a solar car using a 6 volt battery.

How to make a kitset solar car

solar car kit

This solar powered race car from The Little Crafty Bugs Company connects a solar panel to a motor (no batteries needed). Everything required to build the car is included in the pack (including screwdriver and glue).

Rapid Education also have solar car kits and other solar models for a range of solar power learning activities.

Have a solar car race

Solar Car race

Solar toys and kitsets from Smart Green Shop

solar toy in boat
Solar plane
Solar helicopter Smart Green Shop
Solar boat
solar robot kitset

Solar power learning activities: Making a solar circuit

Solar Circuits

How to use a solar cooker

This video outlines the GoSun Go,  a light weight solar oven. It covers tips for cooking and boiling and learning how to use the GoSun Dial. Click here for more solar energy lesson plans.

Solar Energy Resources for schools

Solar Energy Resource Teaching Pack By Dorset Community Energy and Dorset County Council is an excellent resource which is designed for KS2. The resource is designed to help teachers deliver curriculum learning about renewable energy production using solar photovoltaics and contains a number of solar circuit experiments.

For a range of solar energy lesson plans click here.