How to show green energy to children?
My son once asked me how he could see green energy. It was hard to explain it to him because, in reality, you cannot see energy. You can only see how energy is used or effected.
So, we grabbed the Horizon science kit for kids.We started in the middle of the chain of production and consumption of energy. For me it was the most important point of the whole system, because our task was to see the energy. The energy is stored in hydrogen. The problem is that hydrogen is invisible. However, you can see its volume when you cover it with water. To make hydrogen visible we need small banks with water and bells to store hydrogen and oxygen. By filling the bells, the level of water increases and you can see the amount of hydrogen. That´s a short explanation how energy storage works.
Then, we started to collect energy from the Sun with the use of a solar panel and we stored it. It was a sunny day and we brought the whole system to our balcony. The solar panel was connected to a reversible fuel cell (used as electrolyzer) which extracted hydrogen and oxygen from distillated water. The Sun was shining and heating our heads and the storage bells in the banks were being filled up. The hydrogen that was produced was used indoor for lighting and fan blowing.
You could argue that you might explain green energy by just watching a video or online simulation or by using some software. However, if children can learn by touching the stuff, connecting by themselves and even making mistakes, the whole knowledge gained from doing this experiment will remain in their minds for a long time.
Do not forget that learning through personal experience involves emotions. And these are inevitable for effective learning.