Solar-panels on NYC public school roofs are giving students the opportunity to get hands on with science. Teacher Vicki Sando founded PS 41’s roof garden in 2003; 2 million dollars and 10 years later, they had a solar array installed.


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“We made connections between plant study,” Sando told Capital New York. “Plants are little solar cells. I had my fifth graders take apart a solar calculator and show them how it worked. We don’t have a stand-alone curriculum on solar, but we’ll do projects where we’ll fold it into it.”

According to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, 23 million dollars will bring solar panels to 24 public schools by the summer of 2016. In the meantime, Sando’s students will continue gardening and learning about the world through their roof-top green-space.

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Teacher Vicki Sando started a roof-top garden in 2003

Image credits: Megan Westervelt

10 years and 2 million dollars later, the school had a solar array

Image credits: Pam Seltzer, Vicki Sando

“We made connections between plant study. Plants are little solar cells”

Image credits: Carla Brown

This “allows students to see first hand what cleaner energy looks and feels like, which will be increasingly important as these grade schoolers grow up”

Image credits: Jes­sica Bruah

Image credits: mbbarch.com

“They’re an invaluable teaching tool for lessons on climate change and other environmental concerns”

Image credits: Pam Seltzer, Vicki Sando (left) | mbbarch.com (right)

“The generations of kids now, especially in elementary school, they’re going to have a really hard time”

Image credits: Pam Seltzer, Vicki Sando

“If they don’t have that interest or exposure to our environment, they’re in trouble”

Image credits: Vicki Sando

“You want to present it so they’re not scared, but you want to empower them”

Image credits: Pam Seltzer, Vicki Sando

24 NYC public schools will have solar arrays by the summer of 2016

Image credits: chicagotribune.com

Image credits: mbbarch.com