The most important aspect of our school projects is participation - making sure that all the children actually experience generating their own electricity so that they can get a practical understanding of the scale of power and electrical units.
Although we can do presentations to assemblies, that’s not our preference. We like to avoid formal teaching - the idea is to provide a learning environment and give answers to any questions arising.
Obviously the idea above also fits well with Home Education projects.
The amount of energy needed to power old filament type and low energy fluorescent or LED lights, charge a phone or run a stereo can be directly felt.
We can provide up to seven pedal units plus some handcrank devices so we often work with half a class, combining with a Council energy, Sustrans cycle safety or recycling presentation who take the other half for a 20 minute or half hour session. Several classes can have a session in a day so everyone in a small school can get a go. We sometimes get asked why we don’t operate more pedal generators so a whole class could be accommodated. Apart from the sheer amount of hardware to be transported and set up, it would need twice the amount of supervision which is generally not available.
As well as from the pedal generators, we can provide hands on demonstrations of other small scale energy production such as wind and solar power, and the 'Watt Box' which shows the effect of a Watt of power when expressed as heat, light, mechanical power or sound.
For smaller groups we can facilitate practical workshops such as making LED windmills in a school 'eco-club', or the 8 metre tall plastic drainpipe tower which was built in an activity day at a local school.
It's difficult to get our regular volunteers on weekdays, especially outside our local area; three or four people are needed for basic safety supervision of pedal generators. Most schools have provided their own local volunteers, often interested parents, classroom assistants or governors. Technical knowledge isn’t necessary, it’s just basic safety supervision to keep the kids out of rotating wheels and chain drives.
It's also worth mentioning that several pedal generators and LED discs and windmills have been built in places as far away as Australia and America by children and teachers using designs from our DIY pages (and that's just the ones we know about as they emailed to ask for help).