Lexington Teachers prepare with program on solar energy

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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ7) The kids aren’t in school yet

But some teachers are, getting in some classroom work and some hands on experience on teaching kids about solar power.

“It makes it more real to them," says Tom Spencer, a National Energy Education Development Project instructor, about the coursework affects schoolkids. "They can actually do experiments with it. They can test it, they can put their hands on it, they can see what’s actually going on.”

With experiments like making smores in a solar oven or a solar hot air balloon.

“Yeah, simple things like that," says Chuck Smith, a science teacher, Lylburn Downing Middle School. "But they are really effective demonstrations of how solar energy can change a lot of different things. And when kids can get their hands on it, and get that extra connection to what’s either coming from the teacher or coming from the book, it just makes learning more effective, and longer term retention. Everyone wins in those situations.”

“I really think that it can be transformative for students," says Spencer. "Because some of the jobs they’re going to have when they get out of school aren’t created yet, and they’ll be created around these technologies and these industries that are taking off right now.”

But even if the students don’t end up working with solar, the lessons have daily applications.

“They understand it," Spencer explains. "They understand what they’re buying when they buy a kilowatt of energy from their service provider.”