In the Community: Taking Solar Lights Into Classrooms
Though we’ve spanned the globe with our solar lights, there’s one place where we realized we’d never gone… the classroom!
When we launched our first STEM kit back in 2017, we always envisioned it as a great way for kids to explore the power and potential of clean energy at home. However, over time our team began hearing from teachers who were using our STEM kits in their classrooms to talk about solar energy.
As a Brooklyn-based company, we started to think about how our own employees could engage with local students and educate our future leaders about clean energy. Around this same time, Cynthia McKnight, President of the PTA at Dock Street School, contacted us about this very thing. The STEAM-focused middle school has robust initiatives in place to engage with their local community - and they also happened to be just down the block from us! After hearing about what we do, they invited us to come in to teach the students about renewable energy.
Now it was go time. MPOWERD employees put together a pilot lesson plan with the idea that - if all went well - the company would launch a local education initiative for NYC schools. A few weeks later, we were in the classroom trying our hand at teaching. After a few ice-breakers, we paired up the students and handed out our STEM kits. They had no problem figuring out the mechanics of it all and were giddy when their hard work paid off in the form of glowing lights popping up around the classroom.
“The team put together an activity that totally engaged the kids on so many levels,” Technology teacher Sebastian Braithwaite said after the visit. “They were able to explore science and engineering concepts, along with the design process in a really meaningful social context that spanned events in our neighborhood and around the world… Our kids left the activity feeling like their ideas were important and connected to a bigger picture.”
The verdict: Teachers loved the program just as much as the kids! It gave them the perfect opportunity to talk about solar energy in a way that engaged students’ engineering and critical thinking skills. Encouraged by the positive feedback we received, we officially launched our local education initiative, ENLIGHTEN. This initiative will take us across the city to classrooms of varying grades and sizes. Guided by our adaptive pilot lesson plan, we partnered with MSU Denver to develop a base curriculum that could be applied to K-12 classrooms. We’re excited to take our education channel to the next level.
Though Build Luci was the first of our educationally-focused products, it’s certainly not the last. We can safely say that the future is looking very bright!
Interested in getting your school or STEM-focused foundation involved? Contact us for more details.