Logo 1
Watch our video

Improving students’ ecoliteracy through solar energy project-based learning

11 / 10 / 2021
By James Thomas, Commercial Director at Metanoia

Improving students’ eco-literacy through solar energy project-based learning

In May 2021, Metanoia taught a four-day solar energy course to 25 Year 10 and 11 students from Chinese International School. Designed around state-of-the-art experiential learning and project-based learning approaches, students worked together in groups of five and were tasked with creating a proposal for installing solar panels on their selected area of the school roof.

Over the course of three days, students received an introduction to: solar energy production, solar design principles, solar technology, solar rooftop site assessments, the economics and financial modelling of a solar project, key structural considerations (i.e., wind and roof load, government regulations) and other renewable energy technologies. Individual and group exercises were placed throughout the lectures to give students the opportunity to apply their newly acquired knowledge to a particular problem or case study before using it in their solar proposal.

On the third day, students had an opportunity to visit the Canadian International School’s rooftop solar installation. The Canadian International School staff who gave the students a tour of the facilities were impressed by the students’ technical questions, especially when they realised that the students had only been learning about solar panels and renewable energy for three days. The visit also showed the students to visualise and imagine how many solar panels and how much space they would need if they wanted to use solar energy to help CIS become a zero carbon school.

On the final day, students presented their rooftop solar proposal to the school’s Head of Operations and a representative from the school’s external engineering consultants before listening to school’s rooftop and façade solar installation proposal. The students were excited by what they saw, particularly when they saw how this could reduce the school’s carbon footprint, and asked the engineering consultant intelligent questions about the project’s specifications, feasibility and timeline based on what they had learned over the week, showcasing their improved eco-literacy.

Watch the short video above to learn more about what was covered and hear what the participating students and the school’s teacher supervisors thought of the programme!

See Also

Emma graduated with distinction from Rhodes University with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Biochemistry. Since graduating, she has worked in the education sector throughout Asia.

She has experience in Nature-based Solutions for Disaster and Climate Resilience, SDG-Academy. In Emma’s spare time she wrote for an environmental think-tank, covering topics ranging from sustainable diets and lifestyles to biodiversity loss and conservation initiatives. Through her work at Metanoia, Emma is fulfilling a lifelong ambition of working in sustainability for education. She is currently working on applied sustainability audits in schools with the aim of helping them become net-zero institutions.

Her areas of interest include sustainability education, biodiversity loss, sustainable diets, and plastic pollution.

Kiran is an Environment and Sustainability masters graduate from Monash University, Australia. As a former digital marketer, she has experience in project management, campaign execution and brand development for multiple start-up companies.

Through Metanoia, she has applied her knowledge in sustainability communications and stakeholder engagement to drive behaviour change and whole school engagement within schools across Asia. Kiran also brings waste expertise to the team from auditing, reporting and providing innovative and circular solutions. Outside of work, Kiran likes to engage in environmental activism; from working with non-profits to reduce plastic pollution, to advocating for animal rights.

Her passion lies in water sanitation and sustainable agricultural practices.