Teachers go green at the Washington STEM Educator Solar Institute

Students and instructors of the Washington STEM Educator Solar Institute install a solar panel on the solar training roof on Shoreline Community College’s campus.

Shoreline Community College’s Clean Energy Technology program hosted eight area middle and high school teachers at the third annual Washington STEM Educator Solar Institute held on Shoreline’s campus August 8-10.

The program is designed to give hands-on training in solar technology to area instructors and to provide Institute participants with techniques to teach solar principles in their classrooms in effective, engaging ways.

Participants learned about basic solar principles, became familiar with photovoltaic (PV) technology by installing a PV system on the college’s solar training roof, and developed a solar PV laboratory lesson for use in their classrooms.

“I’m always looking for current, hands-on material that is going to excite my students,” said Craig Patterson, a middle school math and science teacher who participated in this year’s institute. “And in my experience, middle-school aged kids are very into solar – it’s like magic to them – so the Solar Institute is great because it’s taught me concepts I can easily bring back into the classroom and use to engage and foster my students’ interest in green energy.”

“Solar technology is a booming industry in the Puget Sound region,” said Louise Petruzzella, Director of the Clean Energy Technology program at Shoreline. “As the go-to institution for clean energy training in the region, it’s very important to us to offer resources and learning opportunities for STEM educators who can offer their students a look into the techniques, the technology, and the industry and to open their eyes to a potential career they may not have thought about.”

Patterson is already thinking about how he can incorporate the techniques learned at the institute into his middle school curriculum for fall. “The technology I learned at the institute has a lot of applications for the scientific method and the engineering design process. I’m excited to think about having students assemble a PV system and make predictions about how it’s going to behave and to systematically test it under different conditions. And it’s scalable – lots of room to match your curriculum to your resources and your students’ interests.”

Get more information about the Solar Institute. Learn more about Shoreline’s Clean Energy Technology program.

 

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