CCEF initiated the first phase of a test pilot program, known as Learning for Clean Energy Innovation, that will ultimately offer - in 20% by 2010 towns - teacher training and classroom activities focused on solar energy education. The training sessions and classroom activities, developed to 9th grade standards, will serve as a benefit to schools located in towns committed to SmartPower's 20% by 2010 campaign, as well as an incentive to other communities considering making the commitment to the campaign.

CCEF has recruited a small group of eight volunteer science teachers - from Glastonbury, Milford and West Hartford - to start the pilot program process by testing a Solar Education Unit that will later be rolled out to a larger group of teachers in later stages of the test pilot. The unit being tested includes both lessons and hands-on activities for students. The ultimate goal is to utilize data monitoring software linked to solar panels on school and other buildings located within "Connecticut Clean Energy Communities". The real-time operating data collected from the solar panels will serve as the basis for inquiry-based investigations that explore solar energy resources in Connecticut, as well as methods of addressing environmental, economic and technological issues at the local level. Besides the software teaching tool, the lessons will also link together energy conservation, electricity, and solar energy.

The solar energy lessons in the unit are aligned with the Connecticut Core Science Curriculum Framework and will serve as alternative lessons for the Energy Transformations module of the 9th grade standards. The Solar Education Unit was developed with the support of the Department of Education; a professional development working group consisting of experts from the education field in Connecticut; and an education consultant.

To introduce the initial eight participating teachers to the Solar Education Unit, on August 24th CCEF hosted a solar energy workshop. This special group of teachers will test the unit in their schools and provide CCEF with their feedback on how to improve the unit to accommodate the needs of both educators and students.

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