Resources for Teachers

Teacher-generated STEM/STEAM activities

Search, rate, download and adapt a growing library of teacher- created, hands-on, STEM renewable energy activities developed by teachers for teachers in our online educator library. Upload your own variations to share with educators nationwide!

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We have new units uploaded every summer as teacher leaders develop new innovative lessons with the CE Program.
Here are a few featured items from the library:
 

Elementary

Middle School

High School

 

Elementary

A unit for new learners of energy. Beginning with energy basics and exploration of the sun, light and heat, students will move into an exploration of how to design a solar oven and how solar energy can be used to cook food. 10 lessons. 

An early learner's unit for K-2 exploring the sun's effect on the earth, and an engineering design project involving building and iterating a solar shade structure. 7 lessons. 

A unit in which students explore the phenomneon of e-waste, build multiple types of batteries, and engineer and investigate multiple sources of clean energy. 3 lessons with a 4th lesson for discussion and reflection. 

A unit with stories, presentations and explorations that introduce energy conceptually before moving to renewable and solar energy. 5 lessons. 

A series of explorations across the school year that reveal how the relationship of the sun and earth affect our lives. Encompassess issues such as electromagnetic radiation, earth's magnetism, seasons and day/night. Includes observations, data taking, and hands-on experiences. 3 parts. 

A long lecture and group demo unit with some experimentation that has students learning the basics of energy and solar energy, understanding sources of energy as renewable and non-renewable, and moving into a detailed investigation of the variables affecting the efficiency of solar ovens. 12 lessons.

An exploratory unit that engages students in the fundamentals of energy with a focus on sources of energy. Includes two home energy surveys and a student-designed investigation to compare various solar water heaters created by student teams. 9 lessons.

Students will learn the very basics of scientific exploration, energy & energy transformation, eventually designing their own solar powered water pump. Includes 2 lessons setting expectations for conduct and probing student knowledge, and multiple investigations including collecting data. 7 lessons.

Students will explore the basics of solar circuitry and use this learning to inform an engineering challenge to build a mini solar house that operates a fan and a light. 3 lessons.

Students are led through a comprehensive unit leading them from the basics of energy through to a culminating solar boat engineering design project. 9 lessons.

A complete engineering design challenge with solar cars. Students will design their own investigations with pulley or gear designs, build cars, take data, and argue from that data. 5 lessons

Students will learn that energy from the sun can be converted to electrical energy to do work by engineering a solar water pump system and collect and graph data in their investigations. 2 lessons.

Students will learn about the different energy sources in sunlight and how they can be used to kill microbes in water and investigate variables that affect microbial levels in water

Students will combine research, direct observations, and hands on investigation to lead them into an engineering design project involving the construction of a solar updraft tower. 5 lessons.

Students will explore the phenomenon of plastic garbage islands and develop engineering solutions to address the problem. Students will use 3-D modeling and 3-d pens and printers to create their model solutions, and conduct research on the problem and present on the problem and their solution. 4 lessons.

Students will play a modified game of musical chairs to simulate the movement of electrons at the p-n junction of a photovoltaic cell to create an electrical current. 1 lesson.

Students will take a short field trip around the school to identify different types of energy. 1 lesson.

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Middle School

Students will explore the basics of solar circuitry and use this learning to inform an engineering challenge to build a mini solar house that operates a fan and a light. 3 lessons.

Students are led through a comprehensive unit leading them from the basics of energy through to a culminating solar boat engineering design project. 9 lessons.

A complete engineering design challenge with solar cars. Students will design their own investigations with pulley or gear designs, build cars, take data, and argue from that data. 5 lessons. 

Students will learn about the different energy sources in sunlight and how they can be used to kill microbes in water and investigate variables that affect microbial levels in water

Students will combine research, direct observations, and hands on investigation to lead them into an engineering design project involving the construction of a solar updraft tower. 5 lessons.

Students will explore the phenomenon of plastic garbage islands and develop engineering solutions to address the problem. Students will use 3-D modeling and 3-d pens and printers to create their model solutions, and conduct research on the problem and present on the problem and their solution. 4 lessons.

Students will play a modified game of musical chairs to simulate the movement of electrons at the p-n junction of a photovoltaic cell to create an electrical current. 1 lesson.

Students will take a short field trip around the school to identify different types of energy. 1 lesson.

An engineering design challenge that has students first building and taking measurements from a predesigned solar water heater, then moving into designing their own solar water heater to beat the performance of the pre-designed one. 3 lessons

A series of simple investigations of the factors affecting solar PV output, including amount of light, light intensity, and solar tilt. Includes data monitoring, graphing, and constructing explanations. 3 lessons.

An engineering design challenge with solar cars. Students will build a solar car and then test to see how fast it can travel a 3m track. After students obtain initial results, they will research how to improve the car’s top speed and then design and build an improved model. 8 lessons.

Students learn the fundamentals of energy transformation and vocabulary, electrical circuits, explore energy usage in their homes. Students then explore energy generation, including the use of magnetism and renewable energy sources. 6 lessons

Students are led through the concepts of solar and biomass heating as well as water pumping to design a water pumping system that uses multiple technologies to avoid water freezing in winter. 3 lessons

Students will design and build a wearable circuit using a microcontroller and incorporating solar power into a wearable garment project by recharging NiMH batteries for a renewable energy battery pack. 3 lessons.

Students are led through the basics of complex circuit building, including the use of buck and boost converters, converting AC to DC and back, with the ultimate goal of designing and building a solar cell phone charger. Involves learning circuit diagramming and calculating efficiencies of various circuits and comparing based upon measurements. 7 lessons.

Students will become familiar with circuits, cells, batteries, and photovoltaic cells, then plan, build, test, modify, and re-test a small solar battery charger designed to maintain batteries from a particular device. 7 days.

In the context of preparing a disaster supply kit, students develop atomic and molecular models of energy resources, analyze combustion of various fuels and build circuits. They then research and evaluate the impacts of converting natural resources into PV cells. Finally, students engineer a hand warmer that uses an exothermic chemical reaction. 5 lessons.

Students are led through an engineering design challenge to build a solar powered car. 8 lessons.

Students will calculate the energy consumption of common household devices based on their operating power rating and then investigate the power consumption of other devices in their homes. 1 lesson.

This unit incorporates basic programming knowledge and solar energy into an engineering design challenge using Sphero SPRK+ robots. The theme for this challenge centers on the idea of Mars rovers, and the challenges faced in space exploration, specifically remote control of exploration tools and the energy generation needed to power these devices. 6 lessons.

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 new learning in order to design a tabletop solar powered mobile. 5 lessons.

Through a series of presentations and modeling, students will learn about solar energy & circuitry, then apply these concepts to the construction of a Solar Module MintyBoost USB Charger. Students will then use the charger to create a real-world product and present it to a panel of “investors.” 7 lessons.

Students will be shown a working example of a solar tracker and asked to replicate the design based on their observations. 1-2 lessons.

Students will be shown a working example of a solar tracker and asked to replicate the design based on their observations. 1-2 lessons.

Students will experiment with the basic concepts of motion to electrical energy transformation. Students start by building a series of models that demonstrate the interactions between magnetic and electric fields. Students then apply this background knowledge to design and optimize a solution for wave energy conversion using a wave attenuator. 4 lessons.

Students will set up a simple circuit, learn to use a multimeter and calculate power, and be introduced to Ohm’s Law.

Students will set up a simple circuit, use a multimeter to measure the voltage and current through each circuit, and calculate the power consumption and resistance of each load. 2-3 lessons

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High School

Students are led through the basics of wind and solar production and efficiencies, as well as motors and generators to prepare them for assessing the impact of different energy sources and developing a 50- year plan for the State of Oregon by using a coded spreadsheet. 6 lessons.

A comprehensive unit exploring the chemistry and functionality of solar photovoltaic cells. Students will learn principles of energy conversion from light energy to chemical & electrical energy. Students test pre-constructed solar panels, and construct two known types of solar cells. Finally, students will research, model, build, test, and present on their own unique solar cell designs. 14 lessons. 

Students will design and build a wearable circuit using a microcontroller and incorporating solar power into a wearable garment project by recharging NiMH batteries for a renewable energy battery pack. 3 lessons.

Students are led through the basics of complex circuit building, including the use of buck and boost converters, converting AC to DC and back, with the ultimate goal of designing and building a solar cell phone charger. Involves learning circuit diagramming and calculating efficiencies of various circuits and comparing based upon measurements. 7 lessons.

Students will become familiar with circuits, cells, batteries, and photovoltaic cells, then plan, build, test, modify, and re-test a small solar battery charger designed to maintain batteries from a particular device. 7 days.

Students will design a light-responding robotic sunflower using complex circuitry and microcontroller that requires scaffolded computer programming by the students. 5 lessons.

​​An extended unit which runs through every aspect of constructing and siting solar panels. 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. 39 parts.

​​Through presentations and investigations, students will learn the chemistry, function, and siting of solar photovoltaic panels, including evaluating on-campus sites for a fictional solar PV system. 4 lessons.

Students will explore how PV technology can be used in tandem with alternative transportation energy/fuels. In an engineering design process, students will research existing transportation technologies, learn circuitry and be challenged to charge a lead acid battery with solar power, and create a BEV that uses Solar PV as a complimentary technology. Circuitry and math heavy. 7 lessons

Students will be shown a working example of a solar tracker and asked to replicate the design based on their observations. 1-2 lessons.

Students will be shown a working example of a solar tracker and asked to replicate the design based on their observations. 1-2 lessons.

Students will experiment with the basic concepts of motion to electrical energy transformation. Students start by building a series of models that demonstrate the interactions between magnetic and electric fields. Students then apply this background knowledge to design and optimize a solution for wave energy conversion using a wave attenuator. 4 lessons.

Students will set up a simple circuit, learn to use a multimeter and calculate power, and be introduced to Ohm’s Law.

Students will set up a simple circuit, use a multimeter to measure the voltage and current through each circuit, and calculate the power consumption and resistance of each load. 2-3 lessons

Recommended Renewable Energy Science Materials

Browse our science kit list to get an idea of the types and quality of science kit materials that we typically use in our trainings. These materials have also been tested by teachers and recommended for the activities and lessons in the CE online educator library.  

Search our science kit catalog for ideas now -->