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
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

Adrift in a Sea of Plastic Unit Plan

Grades:
5-8
Description:
In this unit students will investigate the phenomena of plastic trash islands floating in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The students will work to solve the problem of plastic trash islands through the engineering and design process. Using 3D printers,...
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Learning Goal(s):
·       Students will design 3D models using Tinkercad software.·       Students will define the problem of plastic trash islands.·       Students will describe possible solutions to the problem of plastic trash islands.·       Students will research the plastic trash problem and create google slideshows the problem and how we might fix it.·       Students will investigate different ways to build structures that both float and hold weight.·       Students will build a model of a device that could collect plastic from the ocean.·       Students will test the models they build.·       Students will communicate their results from scientific inquiry to identify factors that are important to optimizing the design of the plastic collecting device.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Solar Circuit

Circuit Analysis With Solar Energy: Measure the Power Consumed by Various Devices

Grades:
6-12
Description:
Students will set up a simple circuit using a solar module and three small loads. They will then use a multimeter to measure the voltage across each load and the current through each circuit. Students will then calculate the power consumption and resistance...
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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

Keeping it Cool With Solar Unit Plan

Grades:
K-2
Description:
Keeping It Cool With Solar unit asks the question: “How might we design a structure that will keep us cool on a hot day?” As an anchoring phenomenon, students will be shown a time-lapse video of an ice cube melting, and a second phenomenon of a solar panel...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth’s surface. Students will plan and conduct investigations to determine whether structures made with various materials will keep objects cool when placed in a beam of light. Students will analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem in order to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs. Students will analyze data obtained from testing different materials to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for keeping an object cool. Students will test if solar panels and solar energy can help cool down their structure.
Author:
Mark Lewin
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours
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
UV Color Changing Beads

Hypothesizing Why Solar Beads Change Color

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
The purpose of this activity is to introduce the idea that sunlight is energy and that this energy can be absorbed, converted into heat, or even cause a chemical reaction to occur. This lesson is also an introduction to the process of science, involving...
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be introduced to the vocabulary of observation, hypothesis, and evidence. Students will use the process of science discourse where people respectfully listen and disagree with each other’s ideas.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Leah Gorman
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min
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

Part 1 - Lesson 1: Why Use Renewable Energy?

Grades:
6-12
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is for students to obtain base knowledge of how renewable and non-renewable energy is generated and identify differences between renewable resources and fossil fuels. Students will research the potential long-term and short-term...
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Learning Goal(s):
1.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.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
8 hours

TinkerCAD: Introduction to 3D Printing

Grades:
5-8
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
This lesson is designed to span 5 days with 50-minute sections. After the introduction day, each day the students work toward mastery on the TinkerCAD tutorial online to learn how to create printable 3D models. At the end of the 4 days the students will have...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will complete several computer aligned design tutorials, lessons, and one project to fully understand and implement unique 3D printed designs.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours

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