Building the blocks of sustainability
LEGO and Mobilo have taken centre stage at Eastern Hutt School as the children learn about renewable energy.
Deputy Principal Ann Gwilliam Eastern Hutt says Eastern Hutt is a passionate enviro school.
“This year a $2,000 grant from Hutt Mana Charitable Trust has helped us make the learning real for our 700 students who have used Mobilo and LEGO to learn about solar panels, propellers and wind turbines.”
Ms Gwilliam says one of the school classroom blocks has solar panels on it. “The enviro warriors at our school wanted to focus on renewable energy so the children could begin to understand how the panels work.
“We were looking for engaging ways to teach the children about renewable energy and landed on the hands-on experiences that Mobilo and LEGO provide.”
Year 1 and 2 students have had fun using the Mobilo solar panels to power propellers, she says.
“The children used the Mobilo solar panels outside to experiment with – they were looking at what happens with and without sun. What would make the propeller move? This is a great way of teaching about renewable energy in the form of using power from the sun to create energy.
“We also purchased two LEGO renewable energy sets to help teach Year 5 and 6 children how renewable energy works. This was a more sophisticated way of explaining solar energy. They used a solar power generator that powered turbine blades – just like a wind farm concept, but in LEGO.”
Ms Gwilliam says the LEGO and Mobilo kits are ongoing resources that can be added to and will help to enhance the School’s STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) programme next year.
“We are trying to get children to unders
“We are trying to get children to understand that when we look into the future, there are ways of creating energy and power that are not reliant on unsustainable practices – it’s very hands on and very motivating.”
The school also replaced its old worm farm with a better one with the funding left over from buying the Mobilo and LEGO kits. “The worm farm and schools compost system are all about getting students to understand as much waste as possible can be returned to the earth,” says Ms Gwilliam.
Two decomposition viewing displays were also purchased to demonstrate the process of decomposition over time using different materials in each chamber such as disposable nappies, apple cores, compostable bags.
“The children are really excited and engaged with this learning and are watching and checking out changes they observe regularly. It has even inspired our teacher in charge of Enviro to use cloth nappies and not disposable nappies for her new baby!
“It’s been fantastic to get funding to purchase resources that fit with our drive towards sustainability. We have a responsibility to teach children about a sustainable future and this funding enables us to do this – we wouldn’t have had budget to do this on our own.”
Ms Gwilliam encourages other schools to take advantage of the generous grants that are available to support schools with their sustainability practices.
“Schools are always stretching budgets and looking at ways to make things work, it helps so much to be able to access additional funding – it makes such a difference.”