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ISDenver students unite STEAM and Global Citizenship in Million Solar Stars

ISDenver students unite STEAM and Global Citizenship in Million Solar Stars

Natural light floods through the Design Lab windows, illuminating our Middle School Maker Space. The latest technology from 3D Printers, Robotics, and Laser Cutters lines the walls and at the front of the classroom, the Smart Screen is on with guest teacher, Chessie Shirley, Education Programmes Manager at Namene Solar, Zoomed in from London.

The space is outfitted to impress. But when you take a closer look, and peek under the covers of the International Baccalaureate-influenced Design process, you see the “why” behind the room is much more than fancy gadgets. Written on the whiteboard are the words “Global Context”. According to the IB, global contexts “help students frame content and grasp its relevance through perspective-taking and a sense of international mindedness…contexts should be (or should model) authentic world settings, events, and circumstances.”

The activity students busy themselves with in this given hour is an embodiment of global context. Sitting within the global context of the Build 1 Give 1 Workshop is the marriage of STEAM and global citizenship. Here is the gist:

  • Students learn product design and components of solar lights, and
  • Learners simultaneously consider nighttime satellite images of continents to help illustrate unequal access to electricity across the globe. They also explore ways solar lights can replace kerosene lamps to reduce emissions and improve health. 

Middle School Faculty, Adam Hall, shared,

As a result of ISDenver Solar Stars participating in the B1G1 workshop, a student in extreme poverty without access to electricity will also receive a solar light.  Not only will this help a student be able to do their homework at night, the light will extinguish a kerosene lamp to avoid toxic emissions and reduce the risk of fires and burns.

As Chief Star Organizer, Hall has spent his career bringing a student-accessible Solar Star Challenge to schools around the world. He has launched the initiative in schools across the globe as well as coached educators on how to bring Million Solar Stars to their own schools.  In addition to being an X-Block Elective, Million Solar Stars is a nonprofit organization with endorsements from global influencers Dr. Jane Goodall, Akon, Former U.S. Senator Mark Udall, and most recently Salva Dut.  

With the 16 solar lights that will be given as a result of this recent workshop, Solar Stars has provided over 600 lights to students without access to electricity!

Workshop participants also received factory-built solar lights for themselves and have suggested they will use their lights for camping and reading at night.  

Congratulations to our students for taking meaningful Service as Action to improve social, educational, and environmental justice.

Special thanks to:

  • Adam Hall, ISDenver Faculty, Million Solar Stars Guide
  • Chessie Shirley and Namene for helping lead this B1G1 workshop. 
  • The generous donors who contributed to Mr. Hall's Solar Star Birthday Fundraiser in July. Your support helped make this B1G1 Solar Light Workshop possible! 




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