Passive Solar Water Heating: Collecting and Reporting Data, Making Recommendations

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Learning Goal(s):

Students will identify variables related to the sun heating water such as time of exposure, air temperature, and color of container. Student groups will design and build solar water heater containers using five-gallon water jugs. Students will design containers using color, cover material, and surround as variables. Students will predict which container and location will collect the most heat from the sun.

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Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour 30 min
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Students will explore ways that the sun can be used to heat water and the variables involved in the efficiency of using the sun to heat water for use in homes or businesses. They will determine this through taking measurements of their solar water heaters over an extended period of time, tracking data correlating to the specific variable-components that they identified in the previous lesson. They will complete this activity by writing a short essay about the potential for the usage of solar energy on a larger scale for water heating and other applications. 

Other Material(s) Used:
Solar energy spiral notebook, plastic 5-gallon jugs, probe thermometers