Unit Plan - Chemical Differences in Emergency Energy Sources

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Learning Goal(s):
  1. To build empathy for people in emergency situations and an understanding of how access to energy resources can increase one’s safety, health, and comfort.

  2. To understand the nature of a variety of energy needs and how different applications have different optimal solutions.

  3. To develop models to explain the molecular and extended structures of energy resources, including how the resources change when energy is generated (Electron movement in PV cells, combustion reactions in fuel).

  4. To understand that the properties of substances depends upon the atomic / molecular structure, which changes with chemical reactions.

  5. To build a circuit that includes a solar module and measure the voltage and current.

  6. To gather and evaluate information to describe the impact on society of converting natural resources into PV cells.

  7. To design, build and test a device that uses a chemical reaction to generate or absorb thermal energy.

  8. Evaluate and revise a plan for the energy resources one should store to prepare for a natural disaster. 

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Students develop atomic and molecular models of energy resources, analyze combustion of various fuels and build circuits with Photovolatic (PV) modules to evaluate and suggest revisions to a disaster preparedness supply list. 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 to meet defined criteria. The unit employs varying reading levels, unique formatting of information resources, and open-ended processes for model development as differentiation tools. Some students will develop complex mathematical models, while others will build conceptual understandings, depending upon their readiness. The forms of the modeling utilized differentiate for an array of learning styles: hands-on manipulatives, drawing, verbal, and written modeling of atomic and molecular structure and thermal energy. This unit includes a circuitry exploration activity with suggestions for extension by using additional lessons in the CE online educator library, authored by other teachers. 

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