Teachers From Across Virginia Plan Solar Energy Investigations for the Upcoming School Year
While students are on vacation for the summer, teachers from across Virginia are working hard to find new ways to bring best practices for STEM education and career readiness to their classrooms. This summer, we are excited to work with over 100 science and CTE educators on ways to integrate solar energy education into their curriculum next year. And with Virginia’s goal to source 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, teachers recognize it's essential for students to learn about solar energy to prepare for their futures – from becoming informed citizens to growing as professionals in an ever-growing industry.
At the Virginia Technology and Engineering Education Association (VTEEA) conference this week, Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers from across the Commonwealth learned about the resources available through Solar Empowered Schools and James Madison University’s Center for the Advancement of Renewable Energy (JMU CASE), including a renewable energy equipment lending library for hands-on learning.
This summer JMU CASE also hosted a four-day Train-the-Trainer Academy designed for educators who already familiar with basic renewable energy concepts to level-up their activities. Participants are now prepared to confidently train other teachers to expand student reach.
Schools powered by solar are uniquely positioned to engage their students in authentic, place-based learning opportunities. As a teacher from Newport News remarked: “Once I knew it was [solar] on my school, I was totally invested.” Solar energy dashboards offer real-time production graphs with a variety of standards-aligned math, science, and technology applications; students can see how the weather out their window influences the amount of electricity generated in that moment.
As teachers returned to pre-school week, Sun Tribe will gave workshops for science and CTE educators at Newport News Public Schools, Chesterfield County Public Schools, and Henrico County Public Schools.