Students use solar energy to race across the finish line

By: Karen Edwards Email
By: Karen Edwards Email

News 12 This Morning/Thursday April 3, 2014

EDGEFIELD CO., S.C. (WRDW)--Students at Merriwether Middle are using the sun's power to race across the finish line, after being named a Green Power Solar Schools through a partnership with Aiken Electric Cooperative, Santee Cooper Power and the Edgefield County school district.

It all started more than a year ago, when Kevin Butler, principal at Merriwether, got a call from a Santee Cooper rep.

"I began to hear some key points that really stood out," Butler explained. "Teachers getting training, science curriculum, students having fun, learning about solar power."

Now, the school has it's very own solar panel and their very own solar tech trained science teacher, Rewa Milton, who's giving 6th grade math and science students some enhanced coursework--including building solar powered cars.

"The curriculum involves manipulatives that they can handle and create things," explained Milton. "All the things that are a part of the South Caroline state standards for 6th grade science."

The new solar panel creates about 2 kilowatts of power, which is just about enough to power one light bulb.

But, Milton tells me the educational gains that students get make it priceless.

"A lot of students are shying away from science," she said. "For some students it's their hardest subject. This gets the students engaged."

After being officially named a Green Power Solar School, Butler and Milton tell me they've got one goal for their students.

"To ensure that down the road we have some children that are interested in going in to engineering," said Butler.

"I'm hoping they all become engineers. That's what I'm hoping," said Milton. "I want to turn them on to science."

All students at Merriwether are benefiting from the solar technology, although the only major curriculum changes are for the 6th grade math and science classes.

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