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Solar power ignites Lenape students' interests

| Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 12:02 a.m.
Fourth-graders Andy Kamis and Caitlin Wheat learn how to put together a solar-powered vehicle during a Pennsylvania State University environmental outreach program at Lenape Elementary School Tuesday.
Fourth-graders Abigail Pfrogner, Layne Balla and Seth Wienskovich work together to assemble a solar-powered car during a Pennsylvania State University environmental outreach program at Lenape Elementary School Tuesday.
Layne Balla points a flashlight over a solar-powered car causing it to travel across the classroom floor while his fourth-grade teammates cheer. From left are Seth Wienskovich, Marissa Good, Abigail Pfrogner and Jacob Smith.

MANOR — Some area elementary students learned on Tuesday how to unleash the power of the sun and discovered that science also can unleash a whole lot of fun.

Throughout much of the afternoon, fourth-graders at Lenape Elementary School learned about the advantages of solar power in the production of electricity.

The hands-on lesson was part of a Pennsylvania State University sponsored program called Green Environmental Challenger for Kids Outreach (GECKO).

Program coordinator Debbie Novak and PSU students Emily Bolewitz and Diamond Barnett talked to students about renewable and nonrenewable power sources and provided students with parts to assemble solar-powered toy cars.

Novak asked students in Sue Girardi's classroom why solar power is considered a renewable source.

About a dozen hands shot up.

“Because the sun lasts and lasts and lasts,” said student Layne Balla.

In Girardi's classroom, four teams of students worked together assembling and demonstrating how to make their car move across the floor using a light source.

Principal Tom Dinga and Assistant Principal Paula Kijowski stopped by as each team tested their car's ability.

Layne took a turn aiming the flashlight's beam over the car and stretched his arm to keep pace as the vehicle zipped past a yardstick.

The rest of his team cheered.

As the demonstration wrapped up, several students asked if they could do more experiments.

Girardi noted that the hands-on lesson demonstrates environmental awareness and correlates with state standards.

She also pointed out how much fun science can be for kids.

“Science is exciting,” she said.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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