Real-time data meets gamification to take smart energy into the classroom

When Queensland-based Solar Schools wanted to fire up its internationally-recognised Green Galaxies educational app, it needed real-time energy data to deliver a compelling internet experience that could engage even the most tech-savvy school children.

That led Solar Schools to a growing relationship with NSW-based Wattwatchers, the digital energy company specialising in monitoring and controlling electricity through the cloud, with Green Galaxies pilot installations now operating in Australia and New Zealand.

Solar Schools recently completed the first phase of a ‘proof of concept’ Green Galaxies demonstration project supported by a Development Grant from the Queensland Government’s Ignite Queensland innovation initiative.

  • Green Galaxies is a teacher-led, interactive game designed for classroom delivery and targets Grade 5 to 9 students. The game is based around a virtual galaxy and the probability that life in the galaxy is renewable and sustainable when responsible decision making about energy sources and consumption is applied. The game engages students’ curiosity and higher-order thinking skills.
  • Solar Schools, the creator of Green Galaxies,  is a pioneer internationally in the area of ‘energy and education’ in the classroom, which is aligned with school curriculums and maps against environment and sustainability, information and communications technologies and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

The Ignite grant allowed the Green Galaxies Pilot Program, with design features including:

  • Identifying 10 schools for the pilot program from across the country;
  • Making the Green Galaxies program accessible to the schools (on Apple’s iOS platform);
  • A package of curriculum materials to be used by teachers with Green Galaxies;
  • Access to the Solar Schools platform, tools and resources;
  • Installing the energy metering and web-based communications equipment (Wattwatchers devices) at selected schools;
  • Running online sessions introducing the schools’ professional staff and teachers to the Green Galaxies program and resources;
  • Designing and implementing a program evaluation for Green Galaxies and the pilot program.
Green Galaxies – the ‘Red Stage’
Green Galaxies – the ‘Shining Stage’

In each case, Wattwatchers energy management devices were installed to monitor school energy consumption in real time, and also solar production at schools that are generating their own clean electricity from the sun.

The first snapshot of the Green Galaxies pilot deployment, captured in a formal interim project evaluation report, revealed the strong appeal to teachers, with feedback on how it worked in the classroom including:

  • Energy sustainability is an abstract concept … it (Green Galaxies) made it tangible.
  • The planet makes the results more real.
  • Access to the ‘live’ data is great and makes the kids curious.
  • The app is kid friendly.
  • It helps you deconstruct the numbers by layers.
  • … you can look at the relationship between variables.
  • Stimulates curiosity … kids want to see how other schools are doing … the best and the worst, but then they want to know why.
  • Kids are critical thinkers, and this helps them make up their own mind.
  • Really helps kids to understand the importance of data … simplifies teaching data.
  • … helps kids to make sustainable living choices.
  • Easy to see the educational outcomes.

‘Energy and Education’ in action – the video:

See what the pupils at St Thomas School, Goodwood, South Australia were inspired to produce from the Green Galaxies pilot program.

More about Solar Schools and Green Galaxies

From comprehensive teaching resources to our energy monitoring portal and the exciting Green Galaxies app, Solar Schools is full of incredible products designed to bring energy to life! Through education resources and unique energy monitoring solutions, Solar Schools teaches kids how to be more energy efficient. Because small steps today will make a big difference tomorrow. Through education and energy monitoring, Solar Schools empowers kids to save the planet!

To learn more about Solar Schools and Green Galaxies, visit: &