Back to (Solar) School
Who said summer school was boring? Not the educators at the Green Power Solar Schools summer training!
The Solar Schools summer education program, hosted by Santee Cooper, began on July 29 and ran for one week as educators from two South Carolina school districts, Lexington-Richland and Horry, learned about solar power and Santee Cooper’s role in South Carolina’s solar power industry.
Before we get into our chat with educators who attended, let me tell you a little bit about the Green Power Solar Schools. Through our Solar Schools program, we work with the electric cooperatives in South Carolina to install 2-kilowatt displays statewide in co-op and our service territories. Students at these schools then learn about the promise and limitations of renewable energy through a curriculum we developed. We currently have 28 Solar Schools in South Carolina.
Now, onto the educators’ summer schooling:
“I really enjoyed the collaboration with people from other schools, because we were able to bring different experiences and leave with a wealth of knowledge from each other and the Santee Cooper employees,” said Michelle Christenson of Black Water Middle School.
Educators spent a week at Santee Cooper’s Wampee Conference Center on Lake Moultrie with Brandy Incorvia, our administrator of educational programs. The program, designed by Brandy and her team, included trips to many Santee Cooper sites including Jefferies Hydroelectric Station and Cross Generating Station.
“I like that we were able to spend so many days here,” said Elizabeth Spegar of Forestbrook Middle School. “And it gave us a chance to get to actually work together and to work out some of the kinks that we may have otherwise missed or not had the time to go over in depth. We were able to dive deep into knowledge and get an all-encompassing experience.”
The Solar Schools program provides a hands-on experience for educators looking to receive credit towards renewal of their teaching certification, or for those looking to bring knowledge of renewable energy into their classrooms.
Each educator receives hands-on activities and ideas that they can incorporate into their lessons and each project or activity has been designed to address sixth-grade students. Some of the hand-on activities included building a pulley system based on solar energy and a final project in which the educators built and raced solar-powered cars.
The Solar Schools educator-training program happens over one week, but when the educators bring the kit-building activities into their classrooms, it is taught over the course of nine weeks. This allows the educators time to plan and incorporate these activities into their lesson plans.
Said Elizabeth, “I’m excited to bring this knowledge and these activities back to the kids and this experience has been amazing, because it has allowed us to see things from a kid’s perspective such as using the connects and using our hands. I would come back every year if I could.”