One thing we’ve learned in the last year is how adaptable children are and how eager they can be to learn new things. With the gaining popularity of using renewable energy in residential spaces, understanding it is important. Here are some of the best ways that you can teach solar power for kids to understand.
Explaining Solar Power for Kids To Understand
The first step in teaching solar power for kids to understand is to get a grasp on what the sun does! In order to understand how solar energy is produced, we have to have an understanding of the relationship between the sun and the rest of the solar system. The sun powers our solar system and the planets surrounding it.
We can teach our kids about solar energy by breaking it down into simple facts. For example, the sun has powerful rays that help warm our Earth. We have solar panels to grab onto the heat and create energy from it.
Have You Ever Heard of Photosynthesis?
This is the perfect way to help a child understand how our plants use the sun to make food and to grow. Similar to how we use the sun to warm up and dry up clothing, food, or anything else. These examples teach kids how the sun is directly responsible for everyday occurrences, even if we don’t notice it at the time! There are tools and projects you can use to show the cause and effect of the sun’s powerful rays. Here are some examples:
- Taking an ice cube and putting it outside in two different locations. The first location is to put the ice in the sunlight. Then, put the other ice cube in a shaded spot. Ask the children which ice cube they think will melt faster and record observations.
- Creating a solar oven by taking an old pizza box and lining it with foil. They can heat food like nachos or melt chocolate for s’mores in the box through the sun’s rays. This shows the power and heat that we get directly from the sun.
- Buy solar powered outdoor lights to see the direct reaction from sunlight to energy. You can buy solar string lights like this example found on Amazon! Set them up together during the daytime and wait until they turn on. Not only are you adding a nice outdoor piece to your yard, but it’s clean energy! Kids see day in and day out how these lights are charged through the day.
Where We See Solar Power for Kids to Find
The solar energy is transmitted from the sun onto solar panels to make electricity! These panels can be on the roof of a house, on a solar battery, or a solar plant!
These panels are typically on the roofs of houses! The best spot for them is facing south. Facing them this way is the best option because it receives the most amount of sunlight per day. There are some houses that have tons of solar panels and other homes that don’t have as many solar panels! The more panels on your roof equals the more energy produced. So, big houses need more solar panels. Smaller homes don’t require as much.
Solar batteries help for electricity on the go. If you like to camp but want to keep your phone or tablet charged, a solar battery can help! You don’t need to plug your device into the wall, instead a solar battery can charge it for you. The solar battery takes in sunlight all day to create enough electricity to power your devices when you need them.
Solar power plants have so many solar panels in the same area! These power plants are used to maximize sunlight and help power our cities. Our cities need electricity to keep lights on, make sure that traffic lights work, and keep refrigerators running.
These power plants are designed to gather as much energy as possible to help cities work. The power that the sun emits is infinite! So, solar power plants put out thousands of panels to gather sunlight and create electricity. When sunlight hits the panel, tiny electrons work to create charges! These charges change to current electricity and work like batteries.
Why is Solar Energy So Important?
We need solar energy to help us take care of our Earth. A lot of cities run on non-renewable energy sources, and those sources will disappear one day! Think of this energy like a can of soda. That soda may wake you up, but once the can is gone, there isn’t anything left for you to drink. But, there are options for renewable energy, like solar power. Renewable energy means that we can continue to use it without fear of it running out.
Think of nonrenewable energy like a can of soda. That soda may wake you up, but once the can is gone, there isn’t anything left for you to drink! Now, think of a soda fountain like you’d see in a restaurant. If you press the button for the soda fountain, more and more soda comes out. Also, you can choose different sodas. This is like renewable energy because we can continue to fill it up, and we have different options of how we’d like to use it. For example, we can use solar energy, wind power from windmills, hydropower from water, and more.
Another important thing about solar energy is that it does not produce any pollution! As we know, pollution is not good for the Earth, so finding clean energy sources is amazing.
Fun Facts about Solar Energy For Kids
Here are some useful fun facts about solar energy to get your kids thinking!
- Scientist John Herschel was the first person to use thermal energy! He did this with a thermal box to cook his food, similar to the solar oven activity.
- The sun creates enough energy to power the entire Earth without any other form of electricity.
- Morocco has the largest solar power plant in the world! This plant opened up in 2020 and cost over 2.5 billion dollars!
- Sunlight travels 90 million miles in just ten minutes. That’s super fast! For example, that’s like being in a car going 70 miles per hour non-stop for 3,522 years.
- California generates the most solar energy in the United States. California generates 33% of the United State’s solar energy as of January 2021. Texas comes in second place, generating 9.1% of the overall energy.
- Solar panels work on cloudy days!
- Did you know that there are solar panels on the White House? They were installed in 2013 under Barack Obama’s presidency and have remained there since. The panels generate energy to run hot water through the 55,000 square foot home.
Useful Videos for Children to See Solar Energy Visually Presented
Sometimes, words fail and videos help. Here are some useful videos to help teach solar power for kids and for adults, too! The more we understand about solar energy leads to a bigger impact that we can make.
This Bill Nye the Science Guy video helps breakdown how solar panels work to create energy. He shows the meter to see how much energy is generated. He also has a video to discuss how we can solve the energy crisis by switching to solar energy.
Another great resource is Ted Talks on Youtube. Their cartoon visuals and semi-simple terminology can help teach anyone a little more about solar energy.
How to Set Your Home Up With Solar Panels
Setting up your home with solar panels is as easy as teaching solar power for kids! All you need to do is visit us online or give us a call at 1-833-433-0331. We’re here to help you minimize your carbon footprint and reduce your electricity bills. Find out how ONIT Home can make your home into a clean energy source.