Unit Plan: A Community Powered by Renewable Energy

Grades:
6-12
Description:

In this three-part comprehensive place-based and project-based unit, students will learn and apply rebnewable energy content to devise action plans at an individual, family, and local level. Students will use primary and secondary research explore energy...

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Learning Goal(s):
LEARNING GOALS – PART 11.Students will define and explain the differences between renewable and non-renewable energy sources.2.Students will research, summarize, and present the (short- and long-term) benefits and drawbacks of utilizing wind and solar energy. 3.Students will research, summarize, and present the (short- and long-term) benefits and drawbacks of utilizing fossil fuels.4.Students will generate questions about the greenhouse gas effect, identify and isolate variables, and then conduct an experiment to answer a class generated question about the greenhouse gas effect.5.Through Socratic seminar, students will use the knowledge gained over the course of this lesson to discuss the potential long- and short-term benefits and drawbacks of using fossil fuels, solar energy, and wind energy.6.Students will define scientific vocabulary related to electricity.7.Students will be able to describe how electricity moves through a conductor.8.Students will draw and describe series and parallel circuits.9.Students will identify ways that energy is consumed within their homes.10.Students will perform an energy audit of their home and calculate the amount of energy used by each electronic device and appliances.11.Students will create a spreadsheet demonstrating the electricity required to operate each electronic device and appliance, along with a summary of finding that clearly identifies how energy consumption can be reduced within their home.12.Students will explore various ways to reduce energy (goal is 30% reduction).13.Students will propose a variety of energy reduction plans and present those options to their families for discussion.14.After discussion with their families, students will itemize the agreed upon plan and identify specific actions that result in quantifiable outcomes that will implemented to reduce energy consumption by their families.LEARNING GOALS – PART 21.Students will gain background information regarding the limitations of having and wind and solar generating infrastructure within city and county limits, including environmental, aesthetic, and cultural considerations. 2.Students will work with professionals to compile criteria for placement of wind and solar energy sources.3.Students will conduct experiments to collect and analyze data to provide a conclusion to the questions: What is the optimal blade angle for generating the most energy? What is the optimal wind speed for generating the most energy?4.Students will use prevailing wind data in your region to examine energy output of various sized small wind turbines as wind speeds incrementally increase.5.Based on local wind speeds, students will determine a range of potential kilowatt generation from wind power.6.Students will conduct experiments to determine how electrical output of solar panels change as the tilt, azimuth, and shade coverage change.7.Students will generate, compare, and evaluate various solar configurations for a solar project in your region.LEARNING GOALS – PART 31.Students will utilize previously acquired information about energy needs to create a renewable energy proposal for your town or city.2.Students will perform a solar audit on their homes and use class averages to project the amount of solar energy that can be generated on residential properties.3.Students will assess where commercial and municipal solar projects can occur within your town or city to meet the energy needs for non-residential consumers.4.Students will determine potential locations for larger-scale wind and solar farms to augment the remaining energy needs of the community.5.Students will prepare a comprehensive renewable energy plan that totals the calculations for potential residential, commercial, and agency renewable energy generation.6.Students will calculate the average amount of energy generated by wind turbines and solar panels in various conditions to determine the quantity of renewable energy sources required to power the city.7.Students will use their projected energy calculations to propose a combination of wind and solar sources to meet your locality’s energy needs, based on benefits and drawbacks of each source of energy.8.Based on prevailing winds and building orientation, students will explore potential sites for wind turbines and solar panels.9.Students will develop a final proposal to meet future energy needs through a combination of energy generation and reduction of energy consumption, prepare a brief slide presentation that summarizes their comprehensive plans, and present their finding to local energy conservation groups and local government staff or elected officials.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours

Unit Plan: Understand E-Waste Through Battery Design

Grades:
4-5
Description:

In this lesson students will further explore their understanding of energy, electricity, and basic circuits. Students will begin their exploration of batteries by questioning where batteries end up when we are done using them, making connections to e-waste...

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Learning Goal(s):
1.Students will make connections to real world problem solving with e-waste.2.Students will explore battery design and transfer of energy through hands on experiments with household items.3.Students will evaluate and analyze problems with e-waste and research solutions.4.Students will draw and label models to explain circuits demonstrating the movement of energy.5.Students will be able to explain how the measured and compared batteries based on the knowledge learned about volts and using a voltmeter.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Estimated Activity Length:
10 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
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...

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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

How might we design a battery that reduces e-waste? Phenomenon and Exploration

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
1
Description:

During this introduction lesson series students will explore the guiding phenomenon to understand e-waste and connect it to battery design. Students will utilize online resources to learn about problems from e-waste around the world and the environmental...

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Learning Goal(s):
1.Students will learn about the phenomenon of e-waste through online resources to explore the history of electronics.2.Students will ask questions and define problems involving the environmental impact of electronics and human impact.3.Students will evaluate and obtain information about electronic waste from online resources such as news articles and videos.4.Students will learn (or review) knowledge of circuits to design a model and explain how a circuit works.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Sphero SPRK+

Solar SPRK: Mars Exploration Debate

Grades:
6-8
Unit:
Lesson Number:
3
Description:

Students will research and then debate about the value of Mars exploration through robotic and/or human missions using a debate structure.

Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will identify high quality scientific information through research that represents multiple sides of an argument.Students will communicate a pre-determined side of an argument verbally, using evidence to support their claims.
Author:
Deb Frankel
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours

Engineering Clean Energy for Our Community

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
3
Description:

This lesson plan will engage students in a design process to power a motor using a variety of energy sources. Students will compare different clean energy sources to decide which energy source will complete their design goal. Students will experiment with...

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Learning Goal(s):
1.Students will define “clean energy” and explain at least 4 types of alternative energy sources2.Students will compare local energy sources and national energy sources to potential energy sources being used or developed.3.Students will experiment with wind energy, solar energy, and hydrogen fuel cell model vehicles to explore alternative fuel sources.4.Students will measure voltage produced and record data in a table format.5.Students will discuss pros and cons of the different types of energy.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours

Part 2 - Lesson 1: Renewable Energy Panel

Grades:
6-12
Lesson Number:
4
Description:

Students will meet with local planners or other available energy experts to discuss public policy regarding the use of wind turbines and solar arrays to generate electricity. Students develop questions for a panel of professionals regarding considerations...

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Learning Goal(s):
1.Students will gain background information regarding the limitations of having and wind and solar generating infrastructure within city and county limits, including environmental, aesthetic, and cultural considerations. 2.Students will compile criteria for placement of wind and solar energy sources.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
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...

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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