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Solar Bottles

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Last updated by Joy Kitt

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The other gadgets I have added to this blog have been shiny, futuristic and exciting.  This gadget is a bit different...They use one litre plastic bottles filled with purified water and some bleach to serve as a solar tube to light the interiors of homes of people living in the shanty town slums in the Phillipines. This use of what is basically rubbish to enrich people's lives is inspirational.  When I first saw this video at Ulearn last year - I wept!   What got me so emotional was the way such a simple invention could make such a huge difference in people's lives. Isn't that the point of inventing - to improve things?  What does your class think?

The science matrices have a progression focussed on Developing Interest and Relating Scientific Learning to the Wider World.  Have a look at this and find a way for your students to discuss and debate this topic.  How have scientific advancements impacted this situation? - starting with the invention of the plastic bottle. What are the implications of this inventions on the people's lives? - for the children, for how they live.  If you read the blurb with the video they talk about how this technology is being used to light schools. 

Can your class make a solar bottle themselves and test the idea, see how it really works.  Is there somewhere in your classroom where a solar bottle would be useful to you? Can the idea be improved or used in different ways?

The beauty of this invention is the simplicity of the invention and the effectiveness of the solution it provides for the people in the shanty town.  Can your students identify any opportunities for them to solve a problem with a simple invention?