In the April 6 session of the OEOP Middle School Mentoring Program, students from Boston, Cambridge and Lawrence worked with their MIT mentors to learn about solar power in an engaging, hands-on workshop. The session was a collaboration between the Mentoring Program and SolSolution, a Boston-based non-profit that produces solar power systems for schools.
In the first half of the workshop, the students determined how much land area would need to be covered with solar panels to meet Massachusetts’ Renewable Portfolio Standard goal. The activity walked students through a series of calculations that applied a number of mathematical skills, and the results gave them a better understanding of the efficiency of solar power.
In the second half of the workshop, students conducted a simulation in which they wired together circuits of solar panels and arranged them on model school roofs. The students measured the electrical output of the panels at different hours of the day and seasons of the year by adjusting the angle of the light source. The students ended the workshop with a discussion of the factors that affected the efficiency of the solar installations and how schools could use solar power to generate electricity throughout the year.