More students taking learning outside - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

More students taking learning outside

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Students at Ivy Academy in Soddy-Daisy are used to learning outdoors, but Thursday's lesson soars. They're building a wind turbine to be used for summer science camps. While the attraction is temporary, the solar panel array on campus is permanent. TVA and Chattanooga State Community College helped make it happen.

"About the time I retired from TVA, I started teaching the classes at Chattanooga State, and we were looking for real  projects that my students could do," says Rick Carson.

He's been teaching solar energy classes at the college for around five years. His students have helped install solar panels and wind turbines at several local schools where those students reap many benefits, connecting what they learn in the classrooms to what's happening outside them and, in some cases, assisting with the installations.

"They learn more about how the sun's energy is converted to electricity, and some of the basic construction, too," adds Carson.

Ivy Academy executive director Angie Markum says it's a perfect fit for the school's curriculum.

"For the solar energy, when you're talking about volts and generation and everything like that, we can relate it to the standards in any of our science classes," explains Markum.

It doesn't cost the schools, the college, or taxpayers anything. TVA employees raise the funds for all the materials, mostly through an annual golf tournament.

Juniors Jesidhn Pillai, an exchange student from Malaysia, and Asia McClure are excited about the project.

"This is an outdoor school and I really appreciate the efforts they do for the environment and I really like the concept of practical learning," says Pillai.

"It's a different way of learning. It's cool to see how we can learn and use the solar panels to create energy," says McClure.

Other schools with installations include Howard High School, Calvin Donaldson Elementary, Thrasher Elementary, CSAS, Normal Park, and STEM. The next project is planned for Hixson High School.
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