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Year 9 STEM create solar power

The future of Australia’s solar power will be bright if Dr Thompson’s Year 9 STEM students have anything to do with it.

Solar power installation is soaring globally thanks to costs plunging in the last decade, making it a viable energy source – particularly in Australia where blue skies and sunshine make it an obvious power choice.

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Dr Thompson’s Year 9 STEM students are keen to learn as much as they can about renewable energy. They were thrilled last week, when a team of Engineering students from the University of Sydney came to Wenona to teach them how to build a working solar cell using simple materials like glass, sunscreen and berry juice.

This included alumna Claudia Jerogin (2016), who was delighted to have an opportunity to give back to Wenona.

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After an interesting presentation from the University students, the girls worked together in groups to create their very own working solar cell.

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A solar cell is a device with the ability to convert energy from the sun in the form of electricity, mimicking the process of photosynthesis.

The students used different types of berry juice in their experiments and then went outside to charge them in the sunshine. They then measured the voltage of their solar cells and compared the results between solar cells that they’d created using different dyes.

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The University students were accompanied by research student and lecturer, Ms Tanzin Authoi who comes from Bangladesh. This was Ms Authoi’s first time in an Australian school and she was blown away by the fact that students could go outside to work on their experiments.

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Creating solar has wetted the students’ appetite to learn more about renewable energy and to do their bit in enabling a safe and healthy climate.

A huge thank you to the University of Sydney’s Senior Fellow, Mr John Currie, who helped Dr Thompson to organise this incursion. And thank you to the students for stepping outside their comfort zones and giving up their time to share their knowledge, enthusiasm and expertise with our girls.