About This Project

The fight against climate change is proving to be a formidable challenge but the youngest generation are a rising force for climate justice. Lead by inspirational peers such as Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, young people all around the world are pushing governments and international corporations to take responsibility for their CO2 emissions, and act to reduce them.

The greatest step we can take towards combatting climate change is the conversion to clean, renewable energy resources such as wind and solar. When we burn fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, greenhouse gases (like carbon dioxide) are released which harm our environment in many ways. These gases linger in the Earth’s atmosphere, acting as a blanket, gradually warming the planet. The more greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, the thicker the blanket becomes.

As scientific researchers at the University of Cambridge (www.strankslab.com) one of our jobs is to discover and develop novel materials that will help provide green energy for future generations, with a focus on producing low-cost solar cell materials. We also have a responsibility to share our research and expertise with others in order to accelerate the uptake of green energy sources and spread awareness of the issues faced by society.

The Primary School Energy Mapping Challenge is one such way to reach out and share the knowledge we have gained from our studies and experiments. With this project we aim to teach budding young scientists at Primary Schools across the UK, about the benefits of renewable energy and its potential to permanently replace fossil fuels.

In this programme, we are asking students to measure the sunlight and wind-speed in their school yards, each day, for a six-week period. By providing measurement instruments and demonstrations we will facilitate development of their investigative skills and scientific mindedness. Pupils will log their data on this online portal which not only describes and contextualises the amount of energy that could be generated by a small wind turbine or solar installation on their school grounds but allows them to compare data with other schools around the country.

This project hopes to give awareness to the youth that will be affected by the climate crisis, while also teaching them important critical thinking and data acquisition skills that are appropriate for this age group (Year 6, Primary 7). Equipped with wind and solar measurement tools, the students will take complete ownership of the project. Throughout, they will be exposed to concepts such as energy, power, electricity, and scientific units.

We are thrilled with the energy and enthusiasm shown by the students so far and hope to keep this project growing across the UK. If your Primary School is interested in joining in on this unique challenge, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Email: et446@cam.ac.uk (Dr Beth Tennyson) or sm2275@cam.ac.uk (Stuart Macpherson)

The Experiments

Check back later for more information about the experiments!

Crunching Numbers

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Unit Conversions

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Other Useful Resources

Check back later for other useful resources!