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Empowering pupils through education experiences: Octopus’s New Education Initiative

8 Oct 2021

Education is a critical component in addressing the issue of climate change. It promotes awareness of the impact of global warming amongst young people, and importantly,  encourages positive changes in their behaviour. Octopus Renewables is  able to empower pupils of local schools through education by enhancing their curriculums to include comprehensive and interactive activities focused on renewable energy and climate change.

Motivated by this, Octopus Renewables has purchased a suite of science equipment for its employees to use. With this equipment, Octopus Renewables employees are encouraged to reach out to local schools and organise renewables-based science experiments for the pupils. This could take on a variety of forms, for example during  Science Week,  in after school clubs or at career events. We hope that through these engagement days, Octopus Renewables will foster interest and engagement with renewable energy amongst the students whilst  enabling them to access a wide range of experiences.

Science Week at St Dunstan’s Primary School

Martin Swain,  a Senior Investment Manager at OR, recently ran some energy-related activities across four mornings for St Dunstan’s Primary School’s Science Week. A total of 94 pupils from year 5 and 6 enjoyed the energy presentations, experiments, and competitions that Martin set up using the new equipment.

To start, Martin captured the attention of the students with chocolate. Using the bar of chocolate as a metaphor of a finite resource, the pupils learned about the fundamental difference between fossil fuels and renewable energy. Beginning to understand the importance of conserving energy, Martin challenged the pupils to think of how they could conserve energy at school and at home – encouraging them to change their attitudes and be creative.

“We have learnt a lot about energy, such as the different types of fuel e.g bio fuel and fossil fuel. Even the teachers learnt some new facts!”

– Pupil, Year 6.

After this, Martin introduced the pupils to different types of renewable energy – including solar power, wind power and biomass. The pupils were then set off to become their own renewable engineers! Separated into smaller groups, each group was given an anemometer and an irradiance meter to identify where in the school would be the best place to set up a turbine or solar panel. Healthy competition encouraged more learning when the groups were then tasked to build their own wind turbine using the kits provided, attempting to find the optimal angle for wind direction and also when they built, and subsequently raced, solar-panel powered buggy cars!

“One of our favourite activities was making the solar cars and wind turbines. I learnt that you have to keep the panels at a certain angle so they can turn and create energy. We also learnt that you use 3.4 million tons of chicken poo for fuel to make energy. My group also really enjoyed using the machine to measure wind speed. We explored different places around the school to see which place had the highest reading and thought about where a wind turbine would work the best.”

– Pupil, Year 6.

Science Week was a complete success and the school and pupils were grateful for Martin’s time and inspiring lessons.

“Thank you for all the equipment we were able to use during science week. I thoroughly enjoyed doing everything but my favourite bit was making the wind turbines. I loved putting all the little bits together and trying to fix the problems and when we finished it was fun to run up and down the pathway to make it spin. We also enjoyed trying to find a good spot for the solar panel and wind turbine for the school. We found they would both work the best in the middle of the field as it is really open. In reality, this would not be such a good idea!”