Solar Car Engineering Challenge Unit

Grades:
6-8
Description:

Students will build a solar car using instructions provided (Sol Run). They will take measurements of their car and then test to see how fast it can travel a 3m track. After students obtain their initial results they will research how to improve the car’s...

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Learning Goal(s):
After the completion of this lesson students will be able to: • Describe how solar cars work • Accurately record and measure data • Use data to propose changes to experimental designs • Research a topic • Complete a full engineering assignment • Explain pros/cons of various prototypes • Work successfully within a group to accomplish a specific task • Brainstorm various ideas
Author:
Todd Freiboth
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
Design a 50 Year Energy Plan

50 Year Energy Plan - Unit Plan

Grades:
9-12
Description:

Throughout this creative, hands-on Unit, students are challenged to scale up every Disciplinary Core Idea and Science & Engineering Practice they’ve learned - from simple electricity generation, to building their own stereo speakers and DIY electric...

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Learning Goal(s):
Explore causes and effects of climate change as related to energy production. Develop a working understanding of varying stakeholder perspectives on the causes and effects of climate change. Through hands-on exploration, build a working speaker that can connect to a cellphone. Use DIY speakers as a model to observe the process of producing electrical currents with a simple generator. Design, build and refine a wind turbine to efficiently convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. Design, build and refine a system that is the most effective at converting the sunlight into electrical energy. Students develop models to study the relationship between the Earth’s atmospheric composition and the Earth’s surface temperatures using simple diagrams. Students reflect on the impact of energy sources and power production on the environment. Students utilize their knowledge of how energy generation processes impacts the environment to inform how and why they develop a 50-year Energy Plan for their local community. 
Author:
Bradford Hill
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Hot Pack

Unit Plan - Chemical Differences in Emergency Energy Sources

Grades:
7-8
Description:

Students develop atomic and molecular models of energy resources, analyze combustion of various fuels and build circuits with Photovolatic (PV) modules to evaluate and suggest revisions to a disaster preparedness supply list. They then research and...

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Learning Goal(s):
To build empathy for people in emergency situations and an understanding of how access to energy resources can increase one’s safety, health, and comfort. To understand the nature of a variety of energy needs and how different applications have different optimal solutions. To develop models to explain the molecular and extended structures of energy resources, including how the resources change when energy is generated (Electron movement in PV cells, combustion reactions in fuel). To understand that the properties of substances depends upon the atomic / molecular structure, which changes with chemical reactions. To build a circuit that includes a solar module and measure the voltage and current. To gather and evaluate information to describe the impact on society of converting natural resources into PV cells. To design, build and test a device that uses a chemical reaction to generate or absorb thermal energy. Evaluate and revise a plan for the energy resources one should store to prepare for a natural disaster. 
Author:
Melody Childers
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Outdoor Circuitry

Engineering with Renewable Energy: Solar Water Pumping

Grades:
4-5
Description:

Students will learn that energy from a renewable resource can be converted to electrical energy to do work by engineering a water pump system powered by the sun. They will compare the volume of water pumped by different designs and graph data collected and...

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Learning Goal(s):
The students will be able to learn what a solar cell looks like and how light energy triggers the cell to release negative charges to move toward the positive side, creating power as it moves from one side to the other. Students will be able to arrange four panels into the correct order to create power for an object and interact with a 3D model of a module to understand how the electricity to power the fan is created. The students will be able to experiment with solar panels (angle, direction) to power a small fan/LED light/circuit board. Students will be able to identify the best position/angle for maximum power. Students will apply scientific ideas to design and test a solar powered water pump that moves water at the fastest rate. Students will experiment and build understanding of parallel and series wiring and how energy moves in these circuits.
Author:
Jamie Repasky
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Solar Tracker

Solar Tracker Challenge

Grades:
5-7
Description:

Students will build a simple circuit that can be used to track a light source. This circuit will be used as a springboard for discussion into the engineering design process, solar tracking, and basic electricity and circuits. The simple solar tracker...

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Learning Goal(s):
Students observe and replicate a simple solar tracker; learn basic electric circuits and terminology; reflect on possible improvements for solar tracker; and reflect on how the engineering design process is used daily.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Jamie Repasky
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
SODIS_UV Treament

Solar and SODIS: Creating Clean Water for the World

Grades:
5-8
Description:

According to Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley, the number one and two challenges for humanity are energy and clean water. This classroom activity will introduce students to a low cost, renewable technique that connects these two issues. During the activity,...

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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be introduced to the range of microbes in the environment, understand the risks of “dirty water” and be able to explain how energy from the sun can purify water through the SODIS technique.
Author:
Jamie Repasky
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Photovoltaic Module

How a Solar Cell Works: Photon Simulation

Grades:
4-8
Description:

The purpose of this activity is to simulate the movement of electrons at the p-n junction to create an electrical current. Students will play a modified game of musical chairs, where teams will compete against each other while creating their own...

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Learning Goal(s):
To understand how a solar cell operates on the atomic level, through a simulation experience
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Erin Sturtz
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min

Unit Plan: A Community Powered by Renewable Energy

Grades:
6-12
Description:

In this three-part comprehensive place-based and project-based unit, students will learn and apply rebnewable energy content to devise action plans at an individual, family, and local level. Students will use primary and secondary research explore energy...

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Learning Goal(s):
LEARNING GOALS – PART 11.Students will define and explain the differences between renewable and non-renewable energy sources.2.Students will research, summarize, and present the (short- and long-term) benefits and drawbacks of utilizing wind and solar energy. 3.Students will research, summarize, and present the (short- and long-term) benefits and drawbacks of utilizing fossil fuels.4.Students will generate questions about the greenhouse gas effect, identify and isolate variables, and then conduct an experiment to answer a class generated question about the greenhouse gas effect.5.Through Socratic seminar, students will use the knowledge gained over the course of this lesson to discuss the potential long- and short-term benefits and drawbacks of using fossil fuels, solar energy, and wind energy.6.Students will define scientific vocabulary related to electricity.7.Students will be able to describe how electricity moves through a conductor.8.Students will draw and describe series and parallel circuits.9.Students will identify ways that energy is consumed within their homes.10.Students will perform an energy audit of their home and calculate the amount of energy used by each electronic device and appliances.11.Students will create a spreadsheet demonstrating the electricity required to operate each electronic device and appliance, along with a summary of finding that clearly identifies how energy consumption can be reduced within their home.12.Students will explore various ways to reduce energy (goal is 30% reduction).13.Students will propose a variety of energy reduction plans and present those options to their families for discussion.14.After discussion with their families, students will itemize the agreed upon plan and identify specific actions that result in quantifiable outcomes that will implemented to reduce energy consumption by their families.LEARNING GOALS – PART 21.Students will gain background information regarding the limitations of having and wind and solar generating infrastructure within city and county limits, including environmental, aesthetic, and cultural considerations. 2.Students will work with professionals to compile criteria for placement of wind and solar energy sources.3.Students will conduct experiments to collect and analyze data to provide a conclusion to the questions: What is the optimal blade angle for generating the most energy? What is the optimal wind speed for generating the most energy?4.Students will use prevailing wind data in your region to examine energy output of various sized small wind turbines as wind speeds incrementally increase.5.Based on local wind speeds, students will determine a range of potential kilowatt generation from wind power.6.Students will conduct experiments to determine how electrical output of solar panels change as the tilt, azimuth, and shade coverage change.7.Students will generate, compare, and evaluate various solar configurations for a solar project in your region.LEARNING GOALS – PART 31.Students will utilize previously acquired information about energy needs to create a renewable energy proposal for your town or city.2.Students will perform a solar audit on their homes and use class averages to project the amount of solar energy that can be generated on residential properties.3.Students will assess where commercial and municipal solar projects can occur within your town or city to meet the energy needs for non-residential consumers.4.Students will determine potential locations for larger-scale wind and solar farms to augment the remaining energy needs of the community.5.Students will prepare a comprehensive renewable energy plan that totals the calculations for potential residential, commercial, and agency renewable energy generation.6.Students will calculate the average amount of energy generated by wind turbines and solar panels in various conditions to determine the quantity of renewable energy sources required to power the city.7.Students will use their projected energy calculations to propose a combination of wind and solar sources to meet your locality’s energy needs, based on benefits and drawbacks of each source of energy.8.Based on prevailing winds and building orientation, students will explore potential sites for wind turbines and solar panels.9.Students will develop a final proposal to meet future energy needs through a combination of energy generation and reduction of energy consumption, prepare a brief slide presentation that summarizes their comprehensive plans, and present their finding to local energy conservation groups and local government staff or elected officials.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Sphero SPRK+

Solar SPRK+ Unit Overview

Grades:
6-8
Unit:
Description:

This unit incorporates basic programming knowledge and solar energy into an engineering design challenge using Sphero SPRK+ robots. The theme for this challenge centers on the idea of Mars rovers, and the challenges faced in space exploration, specifically...

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Learning Goal(s):
Students will develop tools to use in the Engineering Design Process.Students will learn drag and drop programming with Sphero Edu (formerly Lightning Lab).Students will determine how series and parallel circuits affect voltage and current.Students will understand how to use photovoltaic sources to charge a SPRK+.Students will design a chariot to carry a photovoltaic power source for a SPRK+.Students will learn to program a SPRK+ ball and chariot through a maze.
Author:
Deb Frankel
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Sources of Energy

Energy Review: Practical and Technical Perspectives—What is Energy?

Grades:
4-8
Description:

Students will take a short field trip around the school to identify different types of energy.

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Learning Goal(s):
To access prior knowledge about different forms of energy
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Erin Sturtz
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min

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