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Wednesday, 29 February 2012 09:23

Mad Green Scientists

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James is happy to be a mad green scientist“Mad Green Scientists” is not the name of an obscure punk group whose only ever recording is soon to be found tucked away in John Peel’s ‘to-play’ pile. It is the name of a project devised by the team behind the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts in Stowmarket to help young people understand the importance of sustainable living.

Echoing John’s passion for helping people to develop and fulfil their ambitions, the project team at the John Peel Centre came up with the idea of engaging school children in a fun, practical and educational way.

Late last year presentations took place in local schools by volunteers from the Centre and the project’s partners about how our daily lives impact the planet we live on. Students were then challenged to make solar panels and measure their efficiency, with the most efficient winning £500 for their school.

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”!

b_200_200_16777215_0___images_stories_concentrate-tbp_05008.jpgEnthusiasm 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.

Project Manager Paulín GoonanPaulín 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)

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