Solar Updraft Tower

Learning About Solar Updraft Towers

Grades:
3-8
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
This lesson helps students learn about solar updraft towers being planned and built around the world to help solve the energy crisis by using unlimited power from the sun. This will provide real world context to the engineering challenge they engaged in...
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Learning Goal(s):
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, including careers.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Solar Updraft

Let's Build Our Wind and Solar Energy Toy

Grades:
3-8
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students will combine what they learned in previous lessons using their investigations of convection-related phenomena to design a device that will convert light energy from the sun into thermal energy and utilize the resulting convection currents. Their...
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Learning Goal(s):
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.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
Thermal Convection

Where Does Energy Go?

Grades:
3-8
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
This lesson consists of six demonstration activities that show examples of ways in which water and air absorb heat to transfer energy from one place to another. These demonstration activities act as unique phenomena in which students can generate questions to...
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Learning Goal(s):
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.
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours
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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More Details Less Details
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 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 they...
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More Details Less Details
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
Wort Chiller

Bioreactor Water Circulation System

Grades:
7-12
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Solar energy is available when the sun shines but energy can be supplemented at night by the decomposition energy in a bioreactor. In this activity we will experiment with the feasibility of using heated water in a bioreactor to circulate it through a water...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will examine the properties of solar water pumping systems using KidWind solar water pumps or similar water pumps. 2. Students will experiment with the properties of water and its limitations in circulating due to pump power and distance. 3. Students will evaluate the use of a heat sink/chiller in the circulation of water through the bioreactor.
Author:
Tami Church
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours
Solar Thermal Jug

Passive Solar Water Heating

Grades:
6-12
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Students retrofit milk jugs to absorb and retain the most solar energy. This process involves students collecting data that measures the impacts of different variables on the solar energy absorbed by each collection device. Students should be able to see...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will cover/manipulate milk jugs to achieve the most solar energy absorption. 2. Students will calculate the joules of energy absorbed by the solar heated water. 3. Students will measure and graph the temperature changes of their solar milk jugs. 4. Students will gain an understanding of the amount of energy in sunlight.
Author:
Tami Church
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
All American Sun Oven

Reflecting Sunlight

Grades:
4-5
Unit:
Lesson Number:
12
Description:
Students will see a demonstration and conduct a simple experiment on reflecting sunlight. During this demonstration, they will determine the purpose of the reflectors on a solar oven’s design and make observations about their functionality. They will use what...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will learn that reflectors can be used to increase solar oven temperatures by concentrating solar energy. Students will use their observations from the prior lesson to make claims based on the concepts of reflection and absorption within a solar oven system. Students will use their observations from reflection and absorption experiments to determine how to best capture reflected solar energy.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Debbie Abel
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
All American Sun Oven

Solar Ovens: Choosing Colors

Grades:
4-5
Unit:
Lesson Number:
11
Description:
Students will conduct experiments using different colors of paper. During this process, they will make observations about the functionality of different colors when incorporated into design in relation to reflection and absorption. Students will use what they...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will learn that darker colors absorb more sunlight and get warmer. Students will understand the relation of absorption to thermal radiation emission. Students will conduct an experiment that isolates color as a variable to test.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Debbie Abel
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
All American Sun Oven

Heat Conduction of Different Materials

Grades:
4-5
Unit:
Lesson Number:
10
Description:
After a demonstration using Amazing Ice Melting Blocks, students will conduct small temperature experiments using different types of materials. They will use what they learn to build their solar ovens and additionally answer discussion questions in their...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will learn that the material of the item that they choose to cook their egg in matters because different materials conduct heat differently. Students will compare insulators with conductors. Students will determine the purpose of conductors within a solar oven.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Debbie Abel
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min

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