We kicked off our third major project of the year this week: solar schools. Students are divided into teams of four and each team is investigating the feasibility of a solar panel array in different parts of the building as part of the Ann Arbor Ecology Center’s “Solar School” contest. After surveying the campus for potential areas, they started their research into practicalities of the project and developing a list of known unknowns. They then categorized their questions into those we can answer in our own research and those that will require us to reach out to an expert (our school as an assigned expert mentor as part of our participation in the contest). Over the course of the week, as students found answers to their questions, we spent time sharing resources and developing classwide collaborative notes documents. Moving forward, as they fine-tune their group feasibility studies, they will eventually create solar proposals for their designated locations and short videos to submit to the Ecology Center for the contest.
We also started reading The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, the true story of a young Malawian man who built a windmill from scrap parts in order to generate power for his family. We will continue to read, analyze, and respond to this text for the next several weeks.