The Salal Foundation supports organizations that work to build vibrant, sustainable communities that promote a clean energy future. Last year, through partnership with The NEED Project, the Foundation gifted 50 K-12 classrooms with solar energy learning kits. Kits were delivered to schools in California Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Idaho.
Shane Matson’s rural science class in eastern Idaho, totaling eight students, were given the opportunity for hands-on learning through the kits. They studied topics such as alternative energy and small-scale solar panels. The students had no prior background on the topics. Matson stated, “My students dove right into the curriculum”.
The students also used the resources to learn about electricity generation and transmission. Matson said, “We also made solar cookers from U-Haul boxes and cooked s’mores as a way to introduce solar energy that is very useable on a small-scale level, but easily captured.” Inquiry based lessons such as this is what The NEED Project is working towards to empower the clean energy workforce of the future to address the climate crisis.
NEED also reminds teachers of the fun that is possible in the classroom. “I really enjoyed the use of the multimeters and the solar panels to help them explore the variables of the solar panel’s arrangement and the energy that can be produced,” Matson said.
Any educator can become a NEED member. To learn more about partnering with the network, please visit need.org.