Working with materials supplied by a range of local businesses some 50 students from Stowmarket and Combs Middle Schools took part in a workshop to build their solar panels at the John Peel Centre under the guidance of John Taylor, the community advisor for the Suffolk Climate Change Partnership.
From the start it was obvious that this was going to be a fun day, not least because Centre staff had covered the floor with bubble wrap to protect the carpet from spills, it was like walking into “Snap, Crackle and Pop Live”!
Enthusiasm and concentration were the overriding expressions on the faces of students, teachers, advisors and centre volunteers as wooden frames were constructed, copper pipes bent into shape, sheets of metal were spray painted and holes were drilled in plastic boxes.
A lunch time diversion in the form of a bicycle powered smoothie maker proved very popular with everyone. Everyone learned that if you don’t put enough effort in to the cycling you end up with more of a lumpy that a smoothie!
Fully constructed, the panels are now being monitored by the schools and over the next few months we will find out who made the most efficient one. The winning school will be announced at the John Peel Centre on 22nd June 2012.
Paulín Goonan from the John Peel Centre who organised and ran the project was delighted with the day: “It has been wonderful to see so many young people engaging with what we are doing here. None of it would have been possible without the co-operation of the schools, our business partners who helped us with the technicalities and our sponsors who supplied the raw materials.”
The educational project compliments the objectives of the John Peel Centre to develop the 19th century Corn Exchange into a sustainable, energy efficient 21st century venue.
(To see more images from the day click here)