2017 Summer Institute for Educators… registration open

The 5-day Solar Schoolhouse Summer Institute for Educators (SIE) for 2017 is scheduled for July 23th-28th, in Sebastopol, California. This the 15th year we’ve offered this solar energy  professional development experience for educators.  Consistent themes are hands-on, relevant, real-world… and fun!  As you explore Climate Science and it’s effects with your students, it’s important to provide an element of hope… through exploring clean energy options. Increased solar literacy provides students the necessary tools to become active participants as we move toward a clean energy future.

Educators at the 2016 Solar Schoolhouse Summer Institute share one of their creations – solar notebook cellphone & emergency lighting chargers.

Educators at the 2016 Solar Schoolhouse Summer Institute share one of their creations – solar notebook cellphone & emergency lighting chargers.

Participating Educators learn the fundamentals and history of passive solar design, solar thermal, and solar electricity, then apply these lessons in a variety of projects (simple solar ovens, model solar homes, solar powered fountains, cell phone chargers, LED lights, and more).  Lessons are adapted to your teaching situation and aligned with Common Core & Next Generation Science Standard goals.

Limited scholarships are available. To Learn more and to Register visit http://solarschoolhouse.org/sie2017/

Posted in Event, Workshop

Watt Trekker 2016: The SMUD Tiny House Competition

Solar Schoolhouse and the Watt Trekker crew visited SMUD’s Tiny House Competition, October 2016, in Sacramento, California. Participating college teams have designed and built energy efficient and solar powered tiny homes, as potential affordable solution for housing. We spoke with several student teams to learn of their experiences. To learn more about the teams, view floorplans, and see who won. visit smud.org/tinyhouse.  

visit watttrekker.org to view additional energy videos from the Solar Schoolhouse team.

Posted in Event, Project

Repurposing Campaign Signs into Solar Projects


[November 9th, 2016] I’m not feeling very well this morning, but after crawling out from under the covers, saw that the Sun is shining today, as it does everyday,  and realized that the task of shaping a Clean Energy Future remains.  Now, more than ever, the importance of engaging young people in this movement has increased dramatically.   One small step in this process is to REPURPOSE those campaign signs that have littered the landscape across the country.  While this corrugated plastic (polypropylene) material is recyclable, please consider collecting some for use in your Classroom or School, or help direct these materials to your local school.  Providing students a Hands-on opportunity to explore applications of harnessing the Sun’s Energy, is a good start to toward that Clean Energy Future we’re hoping for.

We’ve been experimenting with this material for the past 5 months since the primaries, making Solar Notebook Chargers (for cellphonse, flashlights, powerbanks), and reflectors for Solar Ovens (increasing temperatures by up to 100F), lightweight model solar cars, and more.  We’re collecting this material from our local area, so we have plenty for now.  If you are a teacher or school, reach out today to the campaign organizers in your local area about collecting signs before they are recycled or landfilled.  Find the contact information online for campaigns in your area to ask about donating the signs to your school.   For solar project details, we’ll have a few project options to share online shortly. Fill in your contact info here if you’d like project details when they are available.

In addition to SOLAR Energy projects, there are many more cool and practical projects that students can get creative and build. Tools required are a utility knife and some zip ties. plus some math skills and imagination.

Other potential projects using repurposed campaign signs made of corrugated plastic.

or one of my favorites, the bike trailer camper
or the tiny coroplast house….


Posted in Project