Engineering with Renewable Energy: Solar Water Pumping

Outdoor Circuitry
Average Rating:
Rate This Activity:
Intended Grade Level(s):
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.

Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours

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 use the data to evaluate their designs. The lessons integrate Common Core State Standards for reading informational text and for math (graphing). The final design project could serve as an Oregon Engineering Design work sample.

Science Kit Material(s) Used:
1.5-Volt 500mA Solar Module
2-Volt, 500mA Solar Modules
3-Volt, 1A Solar Module
Kidwind Small Water Pump
KidWind Sound and Light Board
Other Material(s) Used:
Refer to Solar Water Pumping Lesson Plan