Hi, I am a high school special education teacher and I work at a non-public school that has a lot of kids who are taking summer school every year. This summer I wanted to do something to explore with the kids about alternative energy (our school has about 40 panels), permaculture, sustainable living, and the like. I have about 20 days but will consider anything for longer periods of time (quarters, semesters, etc.). The emphasis of education is weird and to teach these kids just meaningless academics seems completely asinine to me. These kids, being special education, are hindered within the current system, and most of the greater societal systems. Therefore I really want to impart to them more beneficial understands of life and our world, as well as how they can make life work for them instead of trying to work so hard to fit within in it. Any information would be greatly appreciated. peace
I would suggest something project based. Maybe each summer something different.
I've seen (but can't link to) plans for building a solar panel that doesn't use those photo cell thingies. (so technical, eh??) It's basically a poor man's version of a solar panel. Or maybe those panel heaters that require a slightly open window and air flow as the panel heats up the air inside which then flows into the house to warm up the house in winter.
With something like these, one part of the project could involve learning how to store energy that's created.
And, while this isn't alternative energy related, but maybe another teacher could offer it, I, personally, think that as a culture we could use more knowledge and experience in creating and using simple machines...and creating complex machines from simple machines. Add this ability in with some understanding of alternative energy methods, and we've got the start of some decent experimenters and re-inventors for simple needs being met without the need for stored energy use. (my opinion is that we rely too much on electric gadgets that we could get met with a little ingenuity)
Oh, or maybe explore various ways of getting light for night time reading.
But yeah, primarily I would suggest something project based and that encourages experimenting and creative problem solving from the students.
Dealing w/ less than .17 acres, mostly shady, sun blocked by trees, annoying by-laws, about 1/3 of land covered by house and sheds, and very very minimal finances and labor options. Time to get creative!
1) composting 2) build a recumbent bike 3) build a small wind turbine 4) build a concentrating solar water preheater 5) vermicompost 6) develop a tank based grey water marsh 7) Do an energy audit of the school build an electric go-cart 9) build ancient technologies (trebuchet, walking crane etc) 10) partner with community groups to run community gardens 11) develop community eco walks, eg marsh boardwalks, desert trails, forest gardens whatever is appropriate for your region 12) Run a contest for self made alternate energy 13) Science fair for community sustainability etc