George Freeman students apply renewable energy learning

George Freeman School is giving its students an opportunity to learn hands on about renewable energy through the application of solar and wind generated power.

Carlie Laslo, a Grade 4 teacher at George Freeman School, said the installation of a solar panel and wind turbine on the school’s storage garage follows up on a project the students conducted last year.

“We wanted to test out to see if solar energy or wind energy is best for the area that we live in. Our garage is really dark, so we need to install some lights and we thought, what a great way to bring lights into our garage,” said Laslo. “We could use it as a teaching moment where the kids could look at different types of energy and see which would be best in our job.”

According to Laslo, the school acquired two different grants, adding to a total of $10,000 for the project, which was inspired after a student had inquired during class which type of energy generation would be better for Strathmore.

“I haven’t seen much of it and I want to learn to what the differences are because I’ve only seen like a couple. I haven’t seen them in real life, I’ve seen them in videos and I wanted to do it, like build it and help with it,” said Hayden Darago (10). “I think it’s kind of cool because I’ve never actually done this. And I actually am kind of interested in it now.”

During the previous educational year, students were encouraged to research which wind turbine and solar panels would best serve the intended purpose for the school.

“Last year was our first year for the eco club and in all honesty, it came from that question of what sustainable energy was better for a town,” said Laslo. “We are using the data from our solar panel and our wind turbine, the measurement of how much energy they are producing and how much energy our lights in our garage will use. They are taking that and plotting it on graphs and then (the grade fives) will share it with the rest of the school.”

Students have been involved in every step of the process from building the concept, to research, to installation of the solar panels.

“I think it’s kind of fun. Learning about how it helps, how the energy and power helps everything work … it’s kind of really cool,” said Finn Sewall (9). “I’ve only seen a few places with wind turbines, (when) you’re driving to Drumheller and stuff like that. But I think it’s cool that we’re installing them on the shed.”

According to Laslo, the renewable energy project will be one of three projects the Eco Club will be tackling this year. One project will involve compost and recycling and the other will include talking to the local community about different sources of energy.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times