As part of its aim to help change the way Central Victorians think about, and use, energy, Sustainability Regional Australia (SRA), through the Central Victoria Solar City project, trialled initiatives aimed at educating primary and high school students about the benefits of solar energy. The trial focused on the intensive engagement of two lighthouse schools, Swan Hill Primary School (SHPS) and Castlemaine Secondary College (CSC), through the development of a model solar car and boat education program, as well as investment in solar infrastructure at Swan Hill Primary. Across Victoria the model solar car/boat program was shared with twenty-five other Victorian schools through ‘Innovators in Renewable Energy Hands-On Intensive’ teacher workshops. Ten schools also received financial support to run their own model solar car/boat curriculum units.
Valuable education and training materials, co-developed by SRA and teachers Phillip Scoles from Castlemaine Secondary College and Bruce Stevens from Swan Hill Primary School, were developed as part of this trial. As part of SRA’s commitment to energy efficiency and renewable energy education this section showcases the material developed. Some of this material is also featured on the Victorian Department of Early Education and Childhood Development’s teacher ultranet.
Video Case Study created as part of the CVSC project, highlighting Castlemaine Secondary College and Swan Hill Primary Schools’ energy efficiency and renewable energy education journeys.
Model Solar Boat and Car Curriculum Units
SRA, through the CVSC project, together with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, developed 2 curriculum units that teach solar energy concepts through project-based learning around model solar cars and boats. The units have been trialed and tested at Castlemaine Secondary College and Swan Hill Primary School and rolled out across 10 other Victorian schools.
Innovators in Renewable Energy Workshops
“Innovators in Renewable Energy Workshops” Photo Case Study, documenting the value of teacher training around Model Solar Car and Boat building
SRA, through the Central Victoria Solar City project, conducted four professional development sessions for teachers and educators interested in a hands-on learning opportunity for students around renewable energy technology.
“At my school we inherited a box of electrical bits and pieces, which included some small solar cells, but no instructions on what to do with it all. Having attended the workshop and seeing what fully functioning solar energy is I can now see some possibilities and beginnings using the equipment that we have and a direction that we can follow.”
Fiona Cooper, Hepburn Primary School
Innovators in Renewable Energy Hands-On Intensives: an Evaluation
This is an evaluation of the “Innovators in Renewable Energy Hands-On Intensives Project” undertaken by Sustainable Regional Australia (SRA), as part of the Central Victoria Solar City project, in May/June 2012.
As a final response to needs identified during the project 10 individual schools grants of $1000 were provided to support the implementation of solar boat and car project-based learning experiences. This evaluation, undertaken independently by Project Synthesis, reported on the effectiveness of that investment and provided analysis of what this meant for the support and delivery of solar energy programs as part of school science curriculum in the future.
“They have learned that they can enjoy these more science/tech based activities. They have learned about solar energy and they have learned a lot about engineering.”
David Carpenter, Hume Central Secondary College