Solar-Powered Paper House Project

Solar power is all rage as we as a society move toward a greener energy source. As we make a global shift away from carbon-based energy sources, solar power is the natural next step as it’s cleaner and renewable. Solar panels used to be reserved for those with large bank accounts but now we see them everywhere!

Helping your child learn more about how solar energy works can help them become better scientists, engineers, and environmentalists. A win/win for everyone!

Kids can learn about solar energy with their very own solar-powered paper house. This fun STEM project comes with a helpful template, too.

Please note, I have provided links for supplies as they are hard to find in stores. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This is at no cost to you.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

You’ve probably seen solar panels all over that power houses, schools, car charging stations, street lights, pool heaters, and more. Scientists and engineers are working to develop powered transportation like trains and cars, too!

Next time you’re out and about, check your surroundings to see if you can spot some solar panels.

Solar panels harness energy from the sun and turn it into electricity. Panels are made up of many photovoltaic cells that absorb photon light particles. When the sun hits the cell, the photons in the sun excite the electrons in the cell. These electrons move within the solar cell until they reach an electrode where the electricity is captured.

The current produced is direct current (DC), but your house needs alternating current (AC) to power appliances, lights and more. The panel also includes an inverter to change it to the right format. Homeowners with solar panels can power their own house plus send their extra electricity to the power grid thereby helping their neighbors too!

Solar-Powered Paper House Supplies

First up you’ll need the paper house template. It includes a helpful circuit diagram to make wiring the house easy. Just enter your info below and it will be emailed to you within a few minutes.

Download your free Solar Powered Paper House Template by entering your information below.

This project takes a few special supplies but they’re easy to source online and well worth the trouble. I’ve shared links to the version I used.

How to Build a Solar-Powered Paper House

*SAFETY NOTE* ADULT SUPERVISION REQUIRED WHEN USING ELECTRICITY

  1. First, print out your template on cardstock. Decorate if desired.
  2. Cut cardstock around the solid black lines. To cut out the windows, grab an adult and a box cutter.
  3. Fold the house along the dotted lines. A ruler can help you make a straight fold.
  1. Add double-sided tape to the flaps on the bottom of the house and tape it to the base. Save the roof for the next step.

How to Connect the Solar Panel to Your Paper House

  1. Fold the roof in half along the dotted line with the line on the inside of the roof.
  2. Open up the LED leads so that the bulb can lay flush along the dotted fold line of the inside of the roof.
  1. Place the LED on the roof fold line with the positive lead of the LED (the long one) on the side marked with a +. Tape securely with copper tape, following the circuit line, and wrapping it around to the top side of the roof where the solar panel will go. Make sure your copper tape will line up with the contact on the solar panel and fold over so the sticky side is up.
  2. Repeat step 3 with the negative LED lead (the short one) on the side marked with a -.
  1. If your solar panel has wires, gently remove them and stick the solar panel to the copper tape with the positive terminal on the same end as the positive circuit line.
  1. Connect roof to house walls with double-sided repositionable tape.
  1. Place the house in the sun to watch the bulb glow.

Download your free Solar Powered Paper House Template by entering your information below.

Troubleshooting Your Solar-Powered Paper House

If your bulb isn’t glowing, check:

  • Does the solar panel have enough sun? Make sure you test it in bright sunlight
  • Are your LED bulbs fresh? Check then on a battery pack.
  • Are the solar panel wires connected securely to the LED leads? Check and tape securely with copper tape. If you had to use multiple pieces for one circuit line, be sure to overlap by at least 1″.

Take it a step further…

Try adding a doorbell to the house with a buzzer or adding a ceiling fan with a hobby motor and propeller. Every solar house project needs some solar devices. How many solar panels will you need to power more than one device?

More Innovation Activities for Kids

This project is a sneak peek into the STEAM Explorers Innovation activity ebook!

Join us as we explore innovations and how to think innovatively with this fun STEAM Explorers ebook unit study!!  Kids will love harnessing solar energy, making biodegradable plastic, cooking with innovation, exploring how computers think and work, and more. You'll love the helpful standards-based learning, printables, and tools that make STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, & math) exploration easy!

 

Love learning about circuits? Try these other circuit projects!

Circuit Turkey: Perfect for Thanksgiving, give this little turkey some light up feathers.

light up pom pom circuit turkey

School Bus Card: With everyone thinking about going back to school, these light-up paper cards are sure to give the kids a pick me up and lift their spirits.

How to Make a Light-Up Paper Circuits School Bus Card

Light-up Valentine Bookmark: Have a reader at home? These light-up bookmarks are perfect for your little reader so they can save their spot and get some of that sneaky reading in.

lightbulb valentine light up bookmark

Lightning Bugs: You probably remember catching (or trying to catch) lightning bugs as a kid and now you can make a lightning bug in a jar with your littles.

lightning bug paper circuits

Download your free Solar Powered Paper House Template by entering your information below.

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