Solar Mobile

Solar Mobile Design Challenge - Construction

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
This is the culminating hands-on project for the Solar Mobile Design Challenge Lessons, with construction aligned to an engineering design process. Students start by Restating the Design Problem that was introduced to them in the beginning of the Unit. Next,...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students brainstorm ideas and share with their group.Students draw and label Solar Mobile designs in Engineering Notebooks. Students research an aircraft to trace (if this was not accomplished in the Center of Gravity lesson) and trace the aircraft outline onto foam board. Students construct a solar circuit to power motors and propellers on a foam board aircraft and test multiple times before adding to the solar mobile stand. Students construct solar mobile stand and add their aircraft to a dowel attached to the central hub. Students work with a partner to balance each aircraft onto the mobile. Students test the mobile speed outside (depending on weather) and compare to speed under indoor light stands. After initial testing, students redesign circuits or mobile construction to optimize design. Students use hand-held devices to film their moving Mobiles to judge the machine’s speed. Students demonstrate how their Solar Mobile works and justify in writing why their mobile should be chosen for the Children’s Technology Museum. 
Author:
Kristy Schneider
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
6 hours
Solar Mobile

Exploring Center of Gravity

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Since the concept Center of Gravity (mass) is a key factor in a mobile, students will participate in some activities to help them experience and understand this principle so it can be applied to their final Solar Mobile design. This lesson starts with a...
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will observe a discrepant event and write down questions about what they observed. Students will participate in a variety of activities using a meter stick in order to experience and learn about center of gravity.Students will find the center of gravity of an irregular shaped paper object by using a plumb line. Students will apply the concept of Center of Gravity and find the center of their solar aircraft that is to be used on their solar mobile. 
Author:
Kristy Schneider
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Solar Mobile

Introducing the Solar Mobile Design Challenge

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
This lesson is aimed to engage students and build excitement for their future engineering design challenge of building the fastest Solar Powered Mobile. Through multi-media resources, Students will encounter real life solar aircrafts and a room-sized Solar...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be introduced to solar aircraft. Students will form and write questions about solar aircraft into their Engineering Notebooks setting the stage for future questions.Students will be introduced to a room-sized solar mobile and add additional questions to their engineering notebook.Students will be introduced to the engineering design scenario. 
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Kristy Schneider
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Solar Mobile

Solar Mobile Design Challenge Unit Plan

Grades:
6-8
Description:
This unit involves students learning about transferring solar energy to small motors, exploring the center of gravity and testing light sources (including the sun). The culminating engineering design project gives students the chance to pull together their...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will design circuits using various solar panels in order to power motors with propellers. Students will learn about solar energy transfer in order to power the motors on their solar aircraft.Students will research an aircraft and draw an outline of the aircraft onto foam board. Students will explore the concept of center of gravity. Students will test the efficiency of various light sources (incandescent, fluorescent, LED, halogen) for usage by a PV cell.Students will use their prior testing results and knowledge to engineer a solar-powered mobile. Students will work to transfer the most energy from the solar panels considering all the tested variables in order to power the fastest, most efficient mobile.Students will demonstrate and explain why their solar mobile should be chosen for the solar mobile display in the children’s museum. 
Author:
Kristy Schneider
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
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Design a 50 Year Energy Plan

How Do We Evaluate Energy Sources?

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
Building on student’s understanding of energy production methods developed over previous lessons, Lesson 5 asks the class to identify and measure trade-offs between environmental impacts – human needs – and practical costs of different power generation...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will develop models of the interaction between atmospheric composition and surface temperature using simple diagrams.2. Students will reflect on the impact of energy sources and power production on the environment. 
Author:
Bradford Hill
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Design a 50 Year Energy Plan

Scaling up to Power Production Let’s use Data to Optimize the Performance of a Solar Cell Array

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Somewhat similar to the first part of the wind turbine project from Lesson 3, students are tasked with optimizing the performance of a photovoltaic system. This objective both allows students to apply the engineering-design process they absorbed in previous...
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Design a 50 Year Energy Plan

Scaling up to Power Production: Let’s Engineer a Wind Turbine

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
After working through Lessons 1 and 2 of this Unit, students are now familiar with the physics of how generators work. The next step in Lesson 3 is to investigate how existing power generation systems operate and supply electricity to entire geographic...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Design, build, and refine a wind turbine in order to effectively and efficiently convert motion into mechanical energy and then into electrical energy 
Author:
Bradford Hill
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours
Design a 50 Year Energy Plan

Diving into the Physics of Motors and Generators

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Using energy analysis and some tinkering students hand wind speakers to play music from a phone. This acts as a phenomenon to engage students in the exploration of electromagnetism. At this point, they have created a motor, which utilizes electric current to...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Through hands-on exploration, create a working speaker for a cellphone. 2. Use the creation of a speaker to observe as a model for the process of generating electrical current in a simple generator/motor. 
Author:
Bradford Hill
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours
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:
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Dye in Water

Developing a Model of Thermal Energy, Atoms, and Molecules

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Through a series of exploration and inquiry activities, students will explain kinetic molecular theory, atomic, and molecular structures. Students will be challenged to gradually increase the precision of their explanation of molecular-level structures and...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will develop a model through collaborative inquiry to explain thermal kinetic energy and predict the outcome when heat is added to a substance. Students will build argumentation from evidence skills through collaborative sense-making and gallery walk presentations. Students will develop a model of atomic and molecular structures.  
Author:
Melody Childers
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
9 hours

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