Shila Salai and Daniel Briggs with a solar grasshopper
Engineers from local technical consultancy Ekistica explained renewable and non-renewable sources of energy to the students, who then built their own solar grasshoppers, and tested them in the sunshine.
The second half of the session was spent at the DKA Solar Centre, a demonstration facility that monitors real-life performance of a wide range of solar photovoltaic technologies.
12-year-old Shila Salei said she was “impressed” to learn the Solar Centre produces about 40 per cent of the energy used at the Desert Knowledge Precinct. Meanwhile, 11-year-old Daniel Briggs was particularly taken by the tracking arrays.
“I liked making the grasshoppers, and learning how the solar panels work, especially looking at the ones that track the sun,” he said.
CMS students with Ekistica engineer Shalini Ganji and Intyalheme General Manager Glenn Marshall
Year Seven teacher Mikaila Mangohig said it was important to expose students to career options they might not otherwise be aware of.
“Understanding the difference between renewable and non-renewable resources is a part of the Year Seven science curriculum, and the engineers from Ekistica did a great job explaining this,” Ms Mangohig said.
“It was great for students to learn in a hands-on environment what solar power is and how the different components work together to get energy from the sun to our power points.”
In addition to the Solar Centre package, the Desert Knowledge Precinct Edu-Tourism Program also engages STEM professionals from the Centre for Appropriate Technology to deliver a session on supporting remote communities.
There is also an experience available with Geoscience Australia, where students learn about satellites and how to fly drones; and a hands-on Country and Culture experience, designed with Batchelor Institute. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.