For the past twelve years, students in Mrs. Katy Studer’s Environmental Science class have had the opportunity to learn about solar energy by meticulously constructing their own model, solar panel houses.
Studying solar panels, students learn how to best to position a house for maximum sun energy during winter months and how to minimize that energy during the summer months. Taking those findings, students design and construct a home that will utilize the solar energy efficiently. To complete their study, students then test the houses' efficiency to determine which house stayed most warm in the winter, and most cool in the summer.
Mrs. Studer believes that “hands-on projects enable students to incorporate what they have learned in class into a real-life situation.” She also shared that even though the house were models, students had to research design plans and make blue prints before constructing their homes. Over the years, she has had many students e-mail her, or even speak with her at alumni events about their solar house project. She believes that “Twenty years from now, they may not remember what they learned in each of my lectures, but they will never forget building their solar house.”
This week, Pedro ’16 and Rodrigo ’16 won co-Student of the Week honors for their hard work in constructing their house (pictured above). What made their house stand out this year? Individually cut roof tiles, wooden doors, shutters, and a fully painted house. Mrs. Studer said it was "one of the best solar houses in 12 years.”