This is an amazing example of a STEAM inspiring attitude brought forward by a secondary school.
Secondary school Kouter in Kortrijk has recently placed a so called “smartflower”.
Basically this is a simple solar panel that opens up in the morning and follows the sun all day long, like a flower. Not only is it good for the environment, it also shows that renewable energy can be used creatively, to blend in with nature.
As a project for the children, they could first be informed about the potential of renewable energy. There are an incredible amount of fun experiments to do with renewable energy and storing it. For example: did you know that you can make a light bulb shine with nothing more than a lemon? Talk about storing solar energy in nature…
In a next phase teachers can stimulate their creativity to “design” their own solar panel. Why not build a solar tree that charges smartphones on the playground for free?
The efficiency and technical issues can be discussed and improved. A school might even try to build their own designed solar panel, reducing the cost immensely.
A project like this is rather challenging, but is very stimulating for the creativity and needed for the future generation. They will learn to work in team, learn to design “out of the box” and see the path to a clean, pollution-free world.
To internationalize this project, we can obviously adapt the flowers to the region they are being created (think wind turbines if schools are close to windy seashores).