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
Source:
University of Colorado Boulder
Published:
2020
Last Updated:
2020
Intended Grade Level:
3-5,
MS,
HS
Description:

A series of over 150 digitial interacitves that allow students to explore a wide variety of science concepts, from simple energy transformations and motion, as well as beahvior of electricity in multiple contexts (static electricity, circuity, batteries, electromagnetism, fields, and more). Many include data collection and applied exploraion of science concepts in physics, chemistry, math, and more. Most are meant for secondary grades, but there are some good foundational energy interactives for upper elementary.

Location:
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
Source:
Teach Engineering/University of Colorado
Published:
2014
Last Updated:
2020
Intended Grade Level:
3-5
Description:

A basic introduction to electrical energy and how it shows up in the world, including understanding the atomic basis for electricity. Not phenomena driven, but a solid stand-alone lesson to help students understand electricity.

Location:
Energy Content:
NGSS Disciplinary Core Idea:
Pedagogy & Practice:
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
Source:
The Wonder of Science
Published:
2020
Last Updated:
2020
Intended Grade Level:
PreK-2,
3-5,
MS,
HS,
OST
Description:

The Wonder of Science was created to support the next generation of science teachers. The website aggregates resources developed by Paul Andersen and other science teachers implementing the Next Generation Science Standards* (NGSS). Resources include phenomena resources by standard, graphic organizers, inquiry cards, NGSS posters, and other tools for building three-dimensionality in the classroom.

Location:
Solar Circuit

Using a Multimeter to Analyze a Solar Circuit: Measuring Current and Voltage—Calculating Power and Resistance

Grades:
6-12
Description:

Students will set up a simple circuit using a multimeter and a load resistor to measure the voltage and current in the circuit. Students will learn to use a multimeter, learn how to calculate power and be introduced to Ohm’s Law. This activity provides a...

Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand that voltage is a measure of a difference in electric potential energy and that current is the rate at which charge flows through a circuit.Students will understand how to measure and quantify electricity. Students will become familiar with the relationships between the fundamental electrical quantities.
Author:
Emily Barrett
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Source:
National Renewable Energy Laboratory NREL
Published:
2020
Last Updated:
2020
Intended Grade Level:
HS
Description:

This online resource is a quick and easy-to-use energy production calculator for grid-tied solar PV systems installed throughout the world that uses NREL scientific data. This website is used by solar photovoltaic energy installation and engineering professionals on a daily basis!

Location:
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
Solar Circuit

Circuit Analysis With Solar Energy: Measure the Power Consumed by Various Devices

Grades:
6-12
Description:

Students will set up a simple circuit using a solar module and three small loads. They will then use a multimeter to measure the voltage across each load and the current through each circuit. Students will then calculate the power consumption and...

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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand that voltage is a measure of a difference in electric potential energy and that current is the rate at which charge flows through a circuit. Students will understand how to measure and quantify electricity. Students will become familiar with the relationships between the fundamental electrical quantities.
Author:
Emily Barrett
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour

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