[Sonoma County] New Solar Schoolhouse Workshop Series for Educators. FREE Materials for your Classroom

We’re excited to offer this new workshop series for Sonoma County area educators.  Energize your classrooms and empower your students with solar energy activities and projects.  As we move toward a clean energy future, it’s important to explore the possibilities through hands-on and project-based activities.  Because of its role as the primary energy source on Earth, the Sun’s energy is central to these explorations.  Workshops will be held in Sebastopol, at the Solar Schoolhouse workshop/live space that is a ZNE (Zero Net Energy) home powered primarily by the sun.

Scenes from Solar Schoolhouse

Scenes from Solar Schoolhouse

Educators attending these workshops will receive the Solar Schoolhouse ‘Your Solar Home’ curriculum, classroom solar cell sets, material for specific solar projects, and the training to implement lessons in your own classroom.  We’ll also be available to consult and help set up a project at your own school or classroom.

Thanks to our generous sponsors, we’re able to offer these workshops and classroom materials FREE to educators, though registration is required due to limited space.  Follow the link below to register for the workshop or workshops of your choice. 

Date Topic
Feb. 22 Solar fountains for School Gardens (ES, MS, HS)
March 8 Build a Solar Charging Station (MS, HS)
March 29 Build a Solar L’Oven (MS, HS)


ES=Elementary School, MS=Middle School, HS=High School

To learn more and to register visit

Several scholarships are also available to Sonoma County Educators to attend the 2017 Solar Schoolhouse Summer Institute for Educators – July 23-28th in Sebastopol. to learn more and apply

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/

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.

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….