Case Study: Stenden University Leeuwarden
Teacher Training College, The Netherlands

Written by Simon Olbertijn

One of the important parts of the curriculum at Stenden University Leeuwarden, of the first year students (aged 18 years and older) is the investigation of the neighbourhood of the primary school. Looking for educational possibilities in how to use the environment of the school for realistic education.

Students of Stenden have to develop lessons and activities for children of the primary schools (4 – 12 year olds). For that purpose every year the students travel to Ameland, one of the small Islands in the north of The Netherlands. Ameland is a part of a very precious natural heritage called ‘Waddenzee’. It is a very important eat- and rest place for millions of birds from all parts of the world.

On the island of Ameland recently a solar-energy plant was built. It produces enough energy to provide all inhabitants of the island with clean energy. In this moment it is the biggest solar-energy plant of The Netherlands.

Jacob Minkema and Simon Olbertijn, the two professors involved with the students on their trip to Ameland, decided to buy solar energy education kits in order to use them during this week as an educational experiment.

Students who will have to teach elementary school children should know something about solar energy by their own experience before they can teach children about this subject.

During the days on the island, students built solar-cars using Solar Active Car Kits bought in England (www.solar-active.com).

Stenden University students

All the students were challenged to construct the most clever and fast car. A solar car race took place on the beach of Ameland. The students were very enthusiast about building their own solar-cars and about the race.

In this way renewable energy is not only a chance for the future but already a part of the curriculum of Stenden University, sustainability today!