Saturday, 19 November 2011

Experimenting With The Kids

Today we decided to dig out the Power House experimental kit we bought as part of our homeschooling curriculum. The kit included the materials to build a simple structure, with a greenhouse, and includes enough materials to do 70 different solar experiments. Since solar energy is a passion of mine, I decided that it would be a great opportunity to spend time with my children and share the learning process with them. It is our eventual goal to be as close to off the grid or net zero as possible.

 As you can see, there are ALOT of small interesting pieces in the kit. All the items in the kit will be used at some point including the packaging! What a well thought out item.

The only thing that surprised me was the material they chose for the base structure. I guess I associated the whole concept of renewable energy with the idea of environmental awareness. I assume the Styrofoam was chosen to amplify the effects of the solar energy because of the small scale of the energy components.

The kit was very easy to assemble, with the exceptions of the small cardboard boxes used to fill the windows and doors. The instructions seem to have large gaps in them which require you to use minor deduction skills to finish the construction. A few more pictures would have been helpful as well.

Here is the completed house.

We attempted to do the first experiment which uses radiant energy to heat the greenhouse on the front of the structure. Unfortunately it is minus 16 degrees Celsius outside and completely  overcast. The instructions suggest using a 60 watt incandescent light bulb as an alternative. Foiled again! We searched the house from top to bottom but there is not a single incandescent bulb in our house, only compact florescent. We will have to save this experiment for another day.

In a couple of days we will continue our experiments with radiant heating. The weather forecast is optimistic for next week so we should be able to get the expected reactions to each of the lessons.

Thanks for reading,


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