The next generation will take over where we left off. Motivating them to care about environmental issues at a young age increases the likelihood that they will continue to do so as adults.
It can be challenging to figure out how to explain renewable energy to children. Rather than giving them yet another lecture, the bigger difficulty is piquing their attention and excitement.
Even at an early age, there are ways to pique kids\’ interest in renewable energy, but it takes some forethought and imagination.
How to Defend:
It\’s important to consider the kids\’ ages while developing lesson plans. The principles of thermodynamics do not need to be understood by a typical elementary school student. To cover all you want to, start with the basics.
Let\’s Get Sustainable Right Away:
If you try to get a kid interested in renewable energy by diving right in, you\’ll likely lose them. If you start using jargon that they don\’t recognize, they\’ll stop listening. Depending on their age, they might even roll their eyes at you.
When something is sustainable, it can keep functioning indefinitely. Teaching this idea to kids through the lens of gardening is simple. Tomatoes include seeds since they are produced from the fruit. The cycle will continue as long as there are seeds to plant.
The following step can be taken if they have grasped the idea of sustainability:
Keep Working Towards Sustainable Energy:
Now that they understand what sustainability is, you can begin to introduce them to its implications in the realm of energy.
Almost all modern kids have a fundamental understanding of how to charge common electronic devices like tablets and smartphones. It shouldn\’t take more than a minute or two to explain to them that energy is the source of electricity.
It\’s flexible, so you may keep using the gardening metaphor if you like. You can still grow tomatoes even if you rely on alternative energy sources like natural gas, fossil fuels, or oil for power. These tomatoes, however, are seedless. There won\’t be enough seeds left to even plant tomatoes.
Depending on the kids, another explanation may work better. The most important thing they need to understand is that our current energy infrastructure is unsustainable.
The List of Renewable Energy Sources:
You shouldn\’t overwhelm kids with information on the five main sources of renewable energy at once. Make careful to delve deeply into each one to help kids understand how and why they exist.
The most important categories of renewable energy to cover are:
One of the most well-known renewable energy sources, solar power is also one of the simplest to explain to young students. Using the sun\’s rays to generate power is an intriguing concept. Share with them the process by which solar panels turn the sun\’s rays into usable energy, even on overcast days. You could even talk about how the International Space Station uses solar power.
Another sustainable energy source with a simple explanation. It\’s unusual to find a kid who hasn\’t played near a creek or river. Describe how the current\’s steady movement of water can be harnessed as a source of renewable energy.
A child\’s natural curiosity will be piqued by an image of one of those big wind turbines. Like a pinwheel, the wind moves the fan\’s blades, generating usable energy. Engage their imaginations by showing them how something as ordinary as wind can be harnessed to provide power. Wind energy is included in the renewable options available in certain states\’ plans.
Power from the Earth\’s Interior –
If the kids haven\’t learned about the temperature of the Earth\’s core, you may need to spend some more time explaining geothermal energy to them. If they are aware of this, then you can explain how this heat is transferred to steam and then used to power facilities located at great depths below the earth\’s surface.
Because producing biomass renewable energy involves little more than setting something on fire, this lecture will focus primarily on that aspect. These fires use waste products from animals and plants as fuel. Agricultural byproducts and other forms of garbage can be used.
Methods of Exposition:
It\’s important to teach the fundamentals to the next generation. The challenge is in answering the question of how to make renewable energy seem appealing to a younger audience.
Children learn better through visual means, thus it won\’t do just explain these ideas to them.
Numerous resources exist online for use in educating kids about alternative energy sources. They can be encouraged to engage with the material through the use of educational games, films on YouTube, or even just simple animations.
These materials can be used to teach students to see the big picture. You can also find films and games that focus on a single step, such as the process of harnessing energy from river currents or the drawbacks of using fossil fuels in the long run.
Do It Yourself:
This is a great way to introduce children to the concept of renewable energy. If you want to keep their attention, assist them in developing a science project to investigate some facet of renewable energy. Information retention is greatly enhanced by practical application.
If you want to go deep into the world of renewable energy, try doing these activities:
Construct a toy water wheel by:
Kids may learn about hydropower by constructing their own water wheels, which have been used for centuries. Used popsicle sticks can be fashioned into a wheel, and the design can be as basic or elaborate as necessary. Although testing this in a nearby brook or river would be ideal, you can also use the water from your kitchen sink.
This simple multi-day project will help you demonstrate the adaptability of solar energy\’s heat. Two containers, one larger than the other, water, food coloring, plastic wrap, and rock are all you need to make this. Condensation, brought on by the sun\’s heat, will fill a container with clean water. If you can prove that your stove achieves the same outcomes while using renewable energy sources, you win bonus points.
Put up a wind generator:
Even though you can\’t create it as big as real wind turbines, it will still demonstrate how effective wind power is. The materials you use to construct it are open to wide interpretation, although water bottle scraps make for sturdy fan blades. Take the kid-made wind turbine outside and let the wind do the rest of the work. If you\’d rather illustrate with an example, a pinwheel will do the trick, but really constructing the wind turbine will have a far greater impact.
Prepare food over an open fire –
Before explaining to the youngsters the importance of using biomass for renewable energy, the activity may sound more like a leisure activity than a science experiment. The fuel can be anything from dead branches and leaves to any dung you can get your hands on. You may prove that the fuel for the fire was dead plants whose leaves and branches will grow back when you use them to cook (something that requires power with the stove). Be sure to emphasize the fire\’s smoke and how any fuel that produces an excessive amount of smoke is potentially hazardous to human health and the environment.
Go on a School Trip
It is not necessary for a school to arrange a field trip. Try to schedule a field trip to a renewable energy facility for you and your kid(s) or class(es). Many of these places are happy to show curious visitors around or fill them in on their operations.
This is also a great method to learn for free from industry insiders. They can provide information on any topic your children may be curious about without you having to conduct any additional research. Having the kids witness the procedure they have been studying firsthand is a great way to keep their interest.
Display the Effects of Using Nonrenewable Energy:
This works best if the kids are animal and nature lovers, but it can be helpful in any case. Watching movies of the devastation caused by pollution and global warming can motivate people to learn about renewable energy as a means of combating these problems.
Act as a Model
Children learn a lot from seeing the adults in their lives. Your daily energy use has a significant impact on the learning of the children in your vicinity.
Solar panel installation on one\’s roof is not yet feasible for everyone, although it is becoming increasingly common. Kids will be fascinated to learn that their mobile devices may be charged using only the energy from the sun.
Anyone can set an example by doing all they can to reduce their energy consumption. When your kids learn that most energy originates from non-renewable sources, they\’ll have a better understanding of why you insist that they turn off lights when they\’re not being used and why you attempt to keep your energy costs as low as possible.
How to Maintain Their Attention:
Once you\’ve piqued the kids\’ interest in renewable energy, it\’s on you to keep it stoked as they get older. Unless they were utterly enamored, your audience is likely to start forgetting key points if you don\’t sustain their interest.
Keep to a Weekly Topic:
This has a two-fold purpose: it engages the kids and makes them excited about school.
Set a weekly topic around which all the fun and games can revolve. Spending time at the park flying kites during Wind Week is one possibility; during Hydro Week, students can learn about the many applications of hydroelectricity, such as harnessing the power of the tides.
Remodeling Your House:
While it\’s not a good idea to send a bunch of kids out to install solar panels on the roof, there are plenty of smaller tasks that can be done with kids in the home or classroom that will give them a sense of accomplishment.
It\’s not even necessary for these to be major undertakings. Changing to more efficient light bulbs may be all that\’s required. Making kids feel included and explaining to them how these efforts are beneficial is crucial.
Construct Playable Media:
Making something into a game is a great method to pique kids\’ interest in it.
A game can engage kids in an activity that can help them learn more about renewable energy sources, whether at home or in school. Create a card game or set up stations around the yard and have them figure out which energy source would work best in each one.
Don\’t be hesitant to present a reward or gift to the children who perform well in the games.
Keep Your Children\’s Money in Renewable Energy:
Getting youngsters interested in difficult material when teaching them can be difficult. To have fruitful conversations with kids about renewable energy, you need to begin by breaking down the essential concepts.
Children benefit most from visual aids and experiential education. You can teach them by showing them movies, having them design and build projects, or even bringing them on a field trip to a power plant that uses renewable energy. Keep in mind that if you want them to take a genuine interest, you must also provide them with an example to follow.
They might maintain their interest on their own, but there are steps you can take as a parent or educator to increase the likelihood of that happening. In order to keep them interested and invested in renewable energy, it is helpful to create engaging ways to bring the issue back around, such as setting up games, projects, or weekly topics.