Retired School Bus Turned Solar-Powered Science Lab

June 30, 2017

 

A JRE solar crew helped out CTE students at DPSCD by installing solar panels on the retired school bus they converted to a science classroom.
Students toured the Tiny Innovation Lab at the DPSCD STEM Fest. 
The Tiny Innovation Lab has (3) 240W solar panels for a total capacity of .72 kW.
The inside of the Tiny Innovation Lab has the essentials for any science classroom: a sink, lab benches, a TV, lighting, and seats for the teacher and students.
The solar energy collected by the panels on top of the bus is stored inside the bus in batteries and used to power the classroom's lights, TV monitor, and sink water pump. 
A JRE solar crew puts the finishing touches on a solar panel installation on the retired school bus that CTE students converted into a science classroom. 
Students took photos with Captain Barrington Irving, who founded the Flying Classroom after becoming the youngest pilot and only African American ever to fly solo around the world.
J. Ranck Electric partnered with DTE Energy, the Detroit Training Center, and other community partners to help the CTE students build the Tiny Innovation Lab. 
Flying Classroom founder Barrington Irving gives a tour of the Tiny Innovation Lab for the Detroit Public Schools Community District superintendent and others at STEM Fest.  
A JRE solar crew installed solar panels on the retired school bus that CTE students converted into a science classroom.

Why would we install solar panels on a school bus? For students at the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), this particular school bus isn’t just for transportation, it’s actually a science classroom on wheels called the Flying Classroom Tiny Innovation Lab.

At the DPSCD STEM Fest, students from several career technical education pathways shared their science, technology, engineering, and math projects with their peers and the community. The projects varied from a racecar built by Automotive students to recipes made with cricket protein powder invented and shared by the Cooking and Culinary Arts students. Among the cricket recipes and racecar project sat the Construction Trades students’ converted school bus, now a mobile science classroom named the Tiny Innovation Lab.

A JRE solar crew helped out with the bus project by installing (3) 240W solar panels for a total capacity of .72 kW atop the Tiny Innovation Lab. The solar energy is stored in batteries and used to power the lights, TV monitor, and water pump for a sink inside the classroom.

The STEM Fest is one event showing the dedication to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math at DPSCD. This focus on STEM is part of a larger goal of the Michigan Education Department to make our state a leader in STEM education and careers, with programming available to every student.

“Having top talent means preparing our students early for in-demand careers to make Michigan the center for brainpower and 21st Century innovation,” Governor Rick Snyder said. “I appreciate the [MiSTEM Advisory] Council for its hard work to make sure we are on the right path, and look forward to their continued partnership as we make Michigan a leader in STEM.”

The STEM curriculum isn’t only important to educators and politicians. Employers like J. Ranck Electric know that STEM education prepares today’s students to enter careers in the trades and meet the huge demand for skilled workers in the construction industry.