Scientific Method

Setting Expectations for Science and Engineering Projects

Grades:
2-5
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Begin this session by setting some ground rules for science discourse. Explain to students that as we work on this unit, and science in general throughout the year, they will be asked to share their thinking about science concepts.
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Learning Goal(s):
Establishing guidelines for the unit; students will also have a better understanding of the scientific method.
Author:
Mike Hellis
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min
Sources of Energy

What is Renewable Energy?

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Students learn about renewable energy sources through a read-aloud of Loreen Leedy’s The Shocking Truth about Energy. Students use Internet sources to obtain more information about alternate sources of energy. They complete a reflection to synthesize the...
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to list and describe the main natural resources that people get energy from. Students will be able to describe the affect the use of different sources of energy has on the environment. Students will be able to describe the advantage of renewable sources of energy.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Leah Gorman
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 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
Pedagogy & Practice:
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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Learning Goal(s):
Modeling and data analysis
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
James Mulanax
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Solar Rooftop

Solar Pathfinder Tutorial

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
This lesson is designed to allow the students to practice assembling and using their Solar Pathfinders, along with analyzing the data. The students will take a single measurement and digital photograph at a location near the classroom designated by the...
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to properly assemble and orient their solar pathfinder. Students will be able to properly record the information provided by a solar pathfinder. Students will be able to accurately analyze the information provided by the solar pathfinder to calculate the solar potential (kWh/m2/day) taking into account variables such as shading, climate and weather.
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
Solar Rooftop

Macro-Scale Solar

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
This lesson begins with basic chemistry with regards to atomic structure. The lesson then moves to understanding the special properties of silicon as a photoelectric semi- conductor. Building on this, the basic structure of photovoltaic solar cells is...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to describe the basic structure of a photovoltaic solar module implementing the ideas of series and parallel wiring. Students will be able to describe the basic structure of a photovoltaic solar array implementing the ideas of series and parallel wiring. Students will be able to describe the function and necessity of an inverter when using photovoltaic arrays.
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
Solar Rooftop

Introduction to the Photovoltaic Effect

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
This lesson begins with basic chemistry with regards to atomic structure. The lesson then moves to understanding the special properties of silicon as a photoelectric semi- conductor. Building on this, the basic structure of photovoltaic solar cells is...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to describe the basic structure of a photovoltaic solar cell. Students will be able to outline or summarize how solar cells produce electricity. Students will be able to explain why silicon, boron and phosphorous are most often used to construct solar cells.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Outdoor Circuitry

Engineering with Renewable Energy: Solar Water Pumping

Grades:
4-5
Description:
Students will learn that energy from a renewable resource can be converted to electrical energy to do work by engineering a water pump system powered by the sun. They will compare the volume of water pumped by different designs and graph data collected and...
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Learning Goal(s):
The students will be able to learn what a solar cell looks like and how light energy triggers the cell to release negative charges to move toward the positive side, creating power as it moves from one side to the other. Students will be able to arrange four panels into the correct order to create power for an object and interact with a 3D model of a module to understand how the electricity to power the fan is created. The students will be able to experiment with solar panels (angle, direction) to power a small fan/LED light/circuit board. Students will be able to identify the best position/angle for maximum power. Students will apply scientific ideas to design and test a solar powered water pump that moves water at the fastest rate. Students will experiment and build understanding of parallel and series wiring and how energy moves in these circuits.
Author:
Jamie Repasky
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
SODIS_UV Treament

Solar and SODIS: Creating Clean Water for the World

Grades:
5-8
Description:
According to Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley, the number one and two challenges for humanity are energy and clean water. This classroom activity will introduce students to a low cost, renewable technique that connects these two issues. During the activity,...
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be introduced to the range of microbes in the environment, understand the risks of “dirty water” and be able to explain how energy from the sun can purify water through the SODIS technique.
Author:
Jamie Repasky
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
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 good...
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