Written by Tracy Linney, Solar Power Education Officer. Tracy has taken over 2,500 children to visit solar farms in the South of England.
Are you a teacher thinking about a visit to your local solar farm?
At Solar Power Education, we can make this happen for you to ensure your pupils get a great experience, enhancing their learning and understanding.
What can you expect from Solar Power Education?
Our Educational Consultants will organise all the external elements for your visit. This includes sharing a Risk Assessment for you to review, a Method Statement (a requirement for visiting a solar farm -explaining how the visit will be run), we can organise a pre-visit meeting on site, provide resources for on-site learning activities, organise the logistics for your visit, and organise and fund your transport.
What do you need to plan?
1/ A date
2/ How the visit fits into your curriculum
3/ Appropriate adult: child ratios.
4/ First Aid
5/ Permission forms
6/ High-viz jackets
7/ Ensure children are appropriately dressed
8/ Provide stationary for your site visit
9/ Ensure hand sanitiser is available to suit updated COVID-19 protocols
How does the visit work?
On arrival your pupils will be given a health & safety talk. After that, there are generally two components to your visit to the solar farm - a tour of the site and learning activities connected to your curriculum focus.
What curriculum areas are covered on the visit?
The main curriculum area covered is Science, primarily Biology and Physics, however there are aspects of the Geography curriculum which are also included. We can provide a list of suggested activities and curriculum links.
How long will the activities last?
Our activities can last from 30 minutes to 1 ½ hours, dependent on the age of the children.
So a site visit could take a whole morning or afternoon session.
What will Key Stage 1 pupils learn?
KS1 pupils will learn what solar panels do and why this is important for our environment. They can learn about the natural life found on the site.
What will Key Stage 2 pupils learn?
KS2 pupils will learn all about the importance of renewable energy, how the solar panels work, what materials they are made from, positioning of the panels and how the electricity made ends up at people’s homes. They can also carry out a biodiversity study of the site, create food chains and webs. We also have small solar circuits and solar toys to show children how the electricity makes things work.
How will the visit support learning about circuits?
Solar panels use electrical circuits to allow the electricity to travel. Your pupils can explore small solar circuits and solar toys to explore how electricity makes things work.
How will the visit support learning about animals and plants and living things?
Children can learn to identify the wildlife on site and find out about different habitats for mini-beasts. They can also create bee houses or bug hotels for the solar farm. Solar farms have a wealth of wildlife and are managed to support biodiversity.
What will Key Stage 3 pupils learn?
KS3 pupils will learn about environmental issues relating to renewable energy, how the materials used cause chemical reactions to create electricity. They can also learn different sampling techniques, looking at the biodiversity of the site.
How will the visit support learning about ecosystems?
Study of the solar farm habitats and its dependants show how ecosystems survive.
What will Key Stage 4 and A level pupils learn?
KS4/ 5 pupils will learn about advanced electrical circuitry and how this works within the solar farm context. They can also classify organisms and look at the human impact on ecosystems.
What facilities are available at the site?
Solar Power Education will provide toilet facilities which include a hand wash basin, usually located near the site entrance. We can also provide hand wipes whilst on site. There are no classrooms or buildings at the sites for the children to access.
What are the transport arrangements?
Solar Power Education can organise and fund the transport for you. The coach(es) will drop the pupils off as close to the site as possible.
What else can Solar Power Education offer?
We love to come into school to deliver workshops. These can be done prior to or post a site visit and it really helps to consolidate learning and makes it a real life experience.
We really can tailor a visit to suit your needs.