2022 Zero Waste Solar Carnival Challenge

What is the Zero Waste Solar Carnival Project?

The Zero Waste Solar Carnival is a new project from Solar Schoolhouse in 2022.

The ZW Solar Carnival project helps tie together your existing 4th Grade curriculum and provides a hands-on component to enhance your class curriculum, and excite your students.

The Solar Carnival Project uses the solar cells, motors, wheels and sound modules from the Solar Cell Classroom Set (SCS4). The idea is that students can first experiment with different solar circuit combinations to learn how solar cells work and can be combined to power different loads. Then they are invited to engineer their own Carnival Ride creation by adding cardboard, chipboard, paper, sticks, string, tape, and more. At the end of the project, all rides will be dismantled so that the solar cells/motors/wheels can be used again for next year.

The Zero Waste part of the challenge means that only materials that can be Reused (solar cells, motors, wheels, etc), Recycled (cardboard, chipboard, paper, bottles), or Composted (sticks, leaves, pine needles, etc.) would be part of the Carnival Ride creation. This means that NO GLUE!, though scotch tape is ok, while masking tape is not. Zero Waste is a bigger idea than just recycling though, as it also includes an effort to reduce using items that are not needed in the first place, for example – one time use plastic bottles, or excessive packaging. It may be difficult to use only recyclable or compostable materials, but the overall goal would be to have a very very small amount of materials that are TRASH when dismantling the Ride at the end of the project.

Student Intro video to Solar Carnival Project.

Teacher Intro to the Solar Carnival Project. Note that we’ve made some changes for the ZW Solar Carnival – The Rocket Ride, Swing Ride, Solar DJ, Egg Beater (Whirlygig) rides are best suited for use with the Solar Cell Classroom Set (SCS4).

Perspective – How is this solar technology used in the World?

Adding this Language Arts lesson to your project will help students gain a greater perspective for how this solar technology (solar cells aka Photovoltaics) is being used around world. A copy of the Magic of Solar Cells Poster is included with materials that will be sent to you. There is also a short video highlighting many of these applications accessible online at Solarschoolhouse.org/magicsolarcells.

Here you can share this ARTICLE BANK with your students. Not every application has an associated article. If there isn’t one for a chosen topic of study, pick a different application, or review an article or two in the UNIVERSAL category for solar cell history and an overview.

For 4th grade, one can assign your students a reading/writing assignment that meets your class and ELA standards. One option is for students to write a letter about the particular solar application that they have discovered on a recent trip. Here are instructions for one possible writing assignment. Adjust as needed.

The Magic of Solar Cells Poster and Video highlight some of the many uses of solar cells (aka Photovoltaics or Solar Panels) around the world. Students pick one of the applications, do some research to learn more, then write a short summary to share with the class.

To avoid having the whole class research solar cars, we’ve provided a Deck of Magic Solar Cell Cards so that students can pick a card (or be handed a card) for a topic to research.

By including this activity with the Solar Carnival project, students gain a greater perspective on how the technology is being used around the world.


What is the 2022 Zero Waste Solar Carnival Challenge?

(for Glendale CA schools Spring 2022). Any 4th grade class that completes a few steps by May 1st, 2022 will receive solar ambassador gifts for each participating student in the class. Follow the directions in the Zero Waste Solar Carnival Project and complete the project as a class. Upload the following pictures on the Solar Schoolhouse google form. [We’ll include that link here shortly]

1.Share pictures of a few of the student made Carnival Rides.

2. Share a few pictures of your completed Solar Carnival – outdoors with rides grouped together.

3. Share a video of the completed Carnival outdoors, with rides grouped together.

4. Take pictures of several of the completed student Magic Solar Cell letters to upload to the form. Letters should be about the various applications shown in the Magic Solar Cell poster and/or video. Should be legible.

Free for Glendale CA 4th gr Educators

Thanks to our partnership with Glendale Water & Power, we can offer these FREE materials for your classroom. Request your FREE Solar Cell Classroom Set + Carnival Extras to use this Winter/Spring 2022. The Set will be shipped directly to your school in early March 2022. Instructions for setting up are included. We have limited supplies so get your request in asap.

Request Solar Cell Classroom Set +Zero Waste extras

Click on the image above or this LINK to Request your Solar Cell Classroom Set

Solar Cell Classroom Set + Zero Waste Extras Materials from Solar Schoolhouse (shipped to your school).

Solar Cell Classroom Set. SCS4 
– Assort Pipe Cleaners – for attachments
– String – for Swing Rides
– Kabob sticks – for Rocket Rides
– Binder clips to clips Rides to Carnival
– Deck of Magic Solar Cell Cards
– Templates for Rocket Rides
– 6″x6″ squares of double thick cardboard for Carnival Ride base.

You provide: Glue sticks, scotch tape, scissors. Misc recycled cardboard, toilet paper rolls, milk cartons, colored construction paper, straws… for making additional communal features in the ZW Solar Carnival.

Solar Carnival, Zero Waste, Solar Cell Set Additional Resources

Student Page with instructions and videos for Solar Carnivals, click here.

[ZW Reader]

City of Glendale Recycling and Zero Waste Resources for Teachers.


Contact Tor Allen at glendale@solarschoolhouse.org or call 707-829-3154 with any questions.