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Pedalling to save energy

Primary school pupils in Edinburgh and the Lothians have been powering up to save energy and learn how to reduce their carbon footprint in workshops hosted in a Powerpod in their playgrounds.

The energy-efficient trailer was created by young people involved in Woodcraft Folk, to provide information on science and technology, with a strong emphasis on sustainable and renewable energies and the environment.

Funding came from the Scottish Government's Sustainable Action Fund, with further money for a peer education programme from the Big Lottery Fund. This has helped pay for Sara MacLennan, the Woodcraft education and development officer who facilitates the school workshops.

She has been creating a programme aimed at many of the scientific requirements of the 5-14 curriculum and A Curriculum for Excellence; these include games on energy and climate change; activities on reducing CO2 and energy use, including an exercise bike to demonstrate the energy required to power one lightbulb; the opportunity to build a climate change tree; collaborative working to design a wind turbine and creating a solar circuit.

Ms McLennan has also devised a programme for training peer educators to deliver workshops. These include pupils from the visited schools and other volunteers, some of whom were the originators of the Powerpod. "The most exciting part is that young people are teaching other young people. It encourages the peer educators to becoming confident individuals, successful learners, responsible citizens and effective contributors," she says.

The Powerpod tours until June 2009. The volunteers are trained to provide workshops suitable for groups of 15 to 20 children and young people from age six upwards.

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