Solar Updraft Tower

Solar Updraft Towers Unit Overview

Grades:
3-8
Description:

Students will combine research, direct observations, and hands-on investigation to lead them into an engineering design project involving the construction of a solar updraft tower. During this process, students will make references to specific phenomena...

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Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand ten renewable and non-renewable energy sources on the earth.Students will learn the locations of different energy sources on the earth.Students will learn the history of energy sources and how humans have used them.Students will learn about innovations and inventions used to find, recover, store, and release energy for human consumption.Students will understand that hot air risesStudents will understand why hot water and hot air rise and cold air and cold water sink.Students will learn that wind is produced by warm air rising and cold air sinking.Students will learn that the energy of moving hot air can be converted into other forms of energy.Students will understand that energy from the sun can be converted into heat.Students will discuss the effects of the chimney stack phenomenon.Students will understand that wind energy can be converted into other forms of energy.Students will determine different methods to increase the effectiveness of a wind turbine blade by harnessing and converting the mechanical energy of the wind.Students will determine that thermal energy resulting from the sun’s radiation can create an updraft that will power a turbine to spin.                                       Students will identify characteristics of turbine design that improve the success of their device.Students will utilize content from previous phenomena they investigated, such as the chimney stack effect and Norwegian candle toys, to determine how to best harness the energy transformed by their device from the sun.Students will be able to define and explain what a solar updraft tower is.Students will make connections between their previous engineering challenge and a real world solution to the world’s growing energy demands.
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours

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

Keeping it Cool With Solar Unit Plan

Grades:
K-2
Description:

Keeping It Cool With Solar unit asks the question: “How might we design a structure that will keep us cool on a hot day?” As an anchoring phenomenon, students will be shown a time-lapse video of an ice cube melting, and a second phenomenon of a solar...

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Learning Goal(s):
Students will make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth’s surface. Students will plan and conduct investigations to determine whether structures made with various materials will keep objects cool when placed in a beam of light. Students will analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem in order to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs. Students will analyze data obtained from testing different materials to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for keeping an object cool. Students will test if solar panels and solar energy can help cool down their structure.
Author:
Mark Lewin
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours
Kill-a-Watt Meter

Home Energy Consumption

Grades:
6-8
Description:

Students will calculate the energy consumption of a set of common household devices based on their operating power rating and then investigate the power consumption of other devices in their homes.

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Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand power and energy as they relate to their electricity use. Students will be able to calculate energy consumption and the associated costs. Students will investigate ways they could reduce their own energy consumption
Author:
Deb Frankel
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Constructing Solar Panels

Solar Panel Construction, Orientation and Use Unit

Grades:
9-12
Description:

For this extended task, students will track the sun's altitude and Azimuth to determine the best position for their hand-built solar panel, learn solar cell operation basics, solar panel construction, series and parallel circuitry and basic array sizing...

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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
Sources of Energy

Informative Writing: Where Does Energy Come From?

Grades:
3-8
Lesson Number:
1
Description:

This lesson is a (stand alone or in-unit) guided non-fiction research and writing project, which includes a differentiated choice menu and list of ideas for publishing the completed project. Each student will choose one of ten energy sources to research,...

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Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand ten renewable and non-renewable energy sources on the earth.Students will learn the locations of different energy sources on the earth.Students will learn the history of energy sources and how they have been used by humans.Students will learn about innovations and inventions used to find, recover, store and release energy for human consumption.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Solar Charger Diagram

Replacing Fossil Fuels?

Grades:
10-12
Lesson Number:
1
Description:

As students begin to look at the role photovoltaics might play within the transportation energy sector, it is important for them to understand why the phasing-out of fossil fuels is such a daunting task. This lesson is designed to help students comprehend...

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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will define energy density. 2. Students will compare energy densities among various transportation fuel options. 3. Students will compare costs per unit of energy among various transportation fuel options. 4. Students will compare energy return on energy invested among various transportation fuel options. 5. Students will assess which fuels have the most potential to replace fossil fuels in the transportation sector using a weighted matrix.
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Car Charger Schematic

Electrical Energy and Solar Module Efficiency

Grades:
7-12
Unit:
Lesson Number:
1
Description:

This lesson will let students do research to define terms that will be used in this unit. They will record this information in their Journals, which can be scientific or simple homemade notebooks. This lesson will also introduce the multimeter, small solar...

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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will document necessary terms in their journals 2. Students will be able to set up a multimeter to measure voltage 3. Students will be able to set up a multimeter to measure current 4. Students will be able to calculate power from data collected 5. Students should be able to measure the collector area of a solar module (area of solar cell(s) within solar module) and represent this value in square meters (m^2)
Author:
Brett McFarland
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours
Sources of Energy

What is Energy? Where does it come from?

Grades:
4-5
Unit:
Lesson Number:
1
Description:

Students will be introduced to the scientific meaning of energy and complete a lesson on forms of energy vs. sources of energy. They will learn that most of the energy they use comes from fossil fuels. (Petroleum 35%, Natural Gas 27%, Coal 18%=82%)...

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Learning Goal(s):
Students will obtain basic background information on energy. Students will use their background knowledge to determine what different examples of energy are.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Debbie Abel
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min

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