Yokosuka’s energy team teaches Sullivans students
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE - The base’s energy team recently accompanied students from the Sullivans School up to the roof of their school on October 16th to examine and learn about the array of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels that were placed atop their roof over the summer.
Yokosuka Bashee Energy Manager Thomas Bawden and Yokosuka Base Energy Special Project Developer Mike Gabiga, collectively known as the energy team, arranged to show students from several classes the solar panels on their roof. The visit was coordinated by 4th grade teachers at the school.
Bawden and Gabiga spent the day interacting with over 250 students and answering their questions about solar power and specifically the array of panels that has been installed atop the roof of the Sullivans School. The installation of the solar panels was a high priority project for Bawden and his Navfac team of engineers during the summer of 2012 and was coincidentally finished on the first day of school, Monday, August 27.
Students from third grade, 2/3 multi-age, and the entire fourth grade went up on the roof for the first time in their academic careers, asked several eye-opening questions and made multiple interesting connections. Christopher Watson, a student from Mr. Parker’s fourth grade class made a biological connection, “So the wires in the solar panels are like little capillaries, and they are bundled together into these bigger wires that are like veins and arteries that feed the energy back into the power grid.”
“Exactly,” cried Bawden, “That’s actually a very apt analogy.”
Jacob Rigsby, another student from Mr. Parker’s class asked, “What happens if a bird poops on the panels?”
“It would diminish the energy gathering capacity of the cells a tiny bit, until the rain washed it off,” Bawden replied, over the elementary school laughter of the students.
4th grade teacher Calvin Grosshuesch stated, “This is a great way to support STEM and SONAR.” The STEM program is an initiative adopted by DoDea to bring together multiple sectors of the technological workforce – from knowledge workers, to educators, to scientists, engineers, and technicians with the goal of ensuring quality education at all levels in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. SONAR is the Sullivans School’s vision statement. It is indeed, one could say, just what the STEM and SONAR initiatives had in mind.