Nebraska Solar Schools

Program Update – Summer 2022

The purpose of our organization’s “Solar Energy Education & Development Program” has been to offer free NEED Solar Energy Kits and other resources to Nebraska K-12 teachers to help facilitate the integration of renewable energy education into their classrooms and after-school programs. We’ve also provided resources for interested educators and other community leaders on installing a photovoltaic (PV) system at their schools.

Funded by grants from the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) and the Facebook Community Action Grants Program, we have awarded 125 NEED Solar Energy Kits to K-12 schools throughout our state. This project would not have been possible without the generous support of NET, Facebook, and individual contributors.

Grant funding through the Nebraska Environmental Trust has now ended. Sufficient funds remain in the Facebook grant for an additional ten kits, which will be disbursed after the 2022-2023 academic year begins.

We want to thank the many teachers, principals and superintendents who have been or continue to be involved in the Nebraska NEED Project, providing their students with enriching STEM curriculum materials and activities to help prepare them for a renewable energy future. We will keep the Nebraska Solar Schools website live to serve as an ongoing resource throughout the school year.

We invite solar developers and other Nebraska businesses, as well as interested parents and grandparents, to donate a NEED Solar Energy Kit to a school in your community. Wind Energy Kits are also available through NEED’s online shop. 

About The NEED Project & Solar Energy Kits

The National Energy Education Development (NEED} Project partners with numerous schools as well as local, state, and national organizations. We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the NEED Project, beginning in April 2019.

NEED, which launched in 1980, relies on an extensive nationwide Teacher Advisory Board to ensure that all curriculum materials in the kits are objective, up-to-date, scientifically accurate, and meet the requirements of national and state science standards.

More Benefits of the NEED Solar Energy Kits

  • NEED Solar Energy Kits’ cross-discipline lesson plans, projects, and activities support Nebraska Science Standards.
  • The four grade-level kits contain all the materials needed for completing each unit, providing an easier and less time-consuming way for teachers to integrate renewable energy education into their curriculum planning.
  • Almost all the curriculum materials in the kits are reusable, and so multiple teachers at each school can use them. While our grants do not provide NEED replacement kits, with new student guides and consumables, these are a fraction of the cost of the main kits.
  • Most NEED modules are inquiry-based, helping students to develop and access critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Activities that are not inquiry-based are engaging and interactive.
  • NEED materials provide evaluation strategies, including pre- and post-assessments, rubrics, and project-based tasks, enabling teachers to track their students’ knowledge gain.

There are four grade-level kits:

  • The Sun and Its Energy: Grades K-2
  • Wonders of the Sun: Grades 3-5
  • Energy from the Sun: Grades 6-8
  • Exploring Photovoltaics: Grades 9-12

Questions? Please contact Helen Deffenbacher, Nebraska NEED Project Coordinator:
nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com