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

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

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

Exploring Circuits and Optimum Power

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
This lesson is an exploratory learning cycle that will give the instructor input as to where students are in their understanding of circuits and also scaffolds student learning. This lesson starts by engaging students by using an Energy Stick. Then, students...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students build series circuits using “grain of wheat bulb” and LEDs powered by various low voltage solar panels. Students build parallel circuits using grain of wheat and LED bulbs powered by various low voltage solar panels. Students demonstrate and draw the energy transfer using solar energy. Students draw a circuit diagram of their final optimal circuit. Students design an optimal circuit model that will be used in their final project. 
Author:
Kristy Schneider
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
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

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:
0 sec
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
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
Puerto Rico Power

When the Grid Goes Down and Stays Down

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Through an examination of media published in the five months following Hurricane Maria in 2017, students will develop an understanding of the electrical grid, the vulnerabilities of a grid system, and the immediate and long-term challenges of living without...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand the general structure of an energy grid Students will develop an understanding of the living conditions in Puerto Rico after Hurricane MariaStudents will collaborate to brainstorm needs to support safety, health and comfort in a natural disaster setting.Students will identify energy resources that one might desire to have in order meet the needs they identify. 
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Melody Childers
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Hot Pack

Unit Plan - Chemical Differences in Emergency Energy Sources

Grades:
7-8
Description:
Students develop atomic and molecular models of energy resources, analyze combustion of various fuels and build circuits with Photovolatic (PV) modules to evaluate and suggest revisions to a disaster preparedness supply list. They then research and evaluate...
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Learning Goal(s):
To build empathy for people in emergency situations and an understanding of how access to energy resources can increase one’s safety, health, and comfort. To understand the nature of a variety of energy needs and how different applications have different optimal solutions. To develop models to explain the molecular and extended structures of energy resources, including how the resources change when energy is generated (Electron movement in PV cells, combustion reactions in fuel). To understand that the properties of substances depends upon the atomic / molecular structure, which changes with chemical reactions. To build a circuit that includes a solar module and measure the voltage and current. To gather and evaluate information to describe the impact on society of converting natural resources into PV cells. To design, build and test a device that uses a chemical reaction to generate or absorb thermal energy. Evaluate and revise a plan for the energy resources one should store to prepare for a natural disaster. 
Author:
Melody Childers
Estimated Activity Length:
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