Solar Mobile

Light Source Efficiency: Exploring Irradiance

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
This lesson explores the concept of irradiance by having students use a Vernier Pryanometer. Using the “Light Source Efficiency” worksheet to guide their work, students measure irradiance as compared to the Sun’s irradiance to see what would be the best li...
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Learning Goal(s):
Using a Vernier Pyranometer, students will measure electromagnetic radiation in watts per square meter (W/m2 ). Students will compare Sunlight irradiance with various indoor lighting options. Students will make a recommendation as to the optimum indoor lighting for powering solar panels. 
Author:
Kristy Schneider
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
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

What is Our Plan?

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
With all the pieces in place, this Unit’s final lesson asks students to code a spreadsheet that calculates and mathematically predicts the environmental impacts of different energy sources and strategies over a 50 year timespan. Divided into five different...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students utilize their knowledge of energy’s impact on global systems as well as the process of energy generation in order to inform their development of a 50-year Energy Plan divided into decades. 
Author:
Bradford Hill
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours
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

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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Hot Pack

Engineering a Hot Pack

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
Through a series of inquiry activities, students will discover the properties of the chemical reaction of dissolving CaCl 2 in water, the effect of stirring, and of adding baking soda and sodium polyacrylate crystals. Once initial data is collected, students...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will collect data to characterize a chemical reaction Students will identify the criteria and constraints of an engineering challenge. Students will design and build a hot pack that meets the criteria of the project. Students will collect data to support their proposed design. 
Author:
Melody Childers
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours
Solar Cell Manufacture

Research and Evaluate the Impact on the Environment and Society of Converting Natural Resources into PV Cells

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students will engage in guided research to explore resource acquisition, material processing, and electricity generation associated with photovoltaic cells. Opportunity for differentiation exists in the level of assistance in guiding the research, the...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will evaluate information to describe the impact on society from resource extraction and materials-processing for PV cells.2. Students will communicate their understandings of different impacts from converting natural resources into PV cells through participation in a Socratic Seminar. 
Author:
Melody Childers
Estimated Activity Length:
6 hours
Fuel Inquiry Poster

Fuels and PV Cells

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Students will return to the phenomena of energy resources to support safety, health, and comfort in an emergency situation. They will distinguish between how common materials provide energy and develop an understanding of how the atomic and molecular...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students explore the conservation of mass in chemical reactions by observing and modeling combustion reactions and exploring the essential question/phenomena, “is all fire the same?” Students will use information resources and a 3D model of a PV cell to understand how solar modules generate electricity. “How do PV cells make electricity?”Students will construct circuits to explore PV modules and variables involved in powering devices. Students evaluate, revise, and justify the energy resources suggested on an emergency preparedness supply list. 
Author:
Melody Childers
Relevant NGSS PE:
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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