To see descriptions of all available curriculum by grade level, click here. To download a PDF of all available units, click here.

Design a 50 Year Energy Plan

50 Year Energy Plan - Unit Plan

Grades:
9-12
Description:
Throughout this creative, hands-on Unit, students are challenged to scale up every Disciplinary Core Idea and Science & Engineering Practice they’ve learned - from simple electricity generation, to building their own stereo speakers and DIY electric...
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Learning Goal(s):
Explore causes and effects of climate change as related to energy production. Develop a working understanding of varying stakeholder perspectives on the causes and effects of climate change. Through hands-on exploration, build a working speaker that can connect to a cellphone. Use DIY speakers as a model to observe the process of producing electrical currents with a simple generator. Design, build and refine a wind turbine to efficiently convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. Design, build and refine a system that is the most effective at converting the sunlight into electrical energy. Students develop models to study the relationship between the Earth’s atmospheric composition and the Earth’s surface temperatures using simple diagrams. Students reflect on the impact of energy sources and power production on the environment. Students utilize their knowledge of how energy generation processes impacts the environment to inform how and why they develop a 50-year Energy Plan for their local community. 
Author:
Bradford Hill
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec

Cost Effective Solar Cells Unit Plan

Grades:
9-12
Description:
Through a series of solar panel and solar cell construction activities, students will learn the basic principles of energy conversion from light energy to chemical & electrical energy. Students will assemble and test pre-constructed solar panels to gain a...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will discuss social, cultural, and economic implications of sustainable solar energy.Students will construct and test solar panel arrays to power LED lights, fan motors, and music playersStudents will review circuitry basics and solar cell layersStudents will analyze and share out power generation results with classmatesStudents will construct and test an oxidized copper sheet solar cellStudents will share and analyze oxidized copper sheet solar cell dataStudents will construct and test titanium dioxide coated “raspberry juice” solar cellsStudents will collect and analyze titanium dioxide coated “raspberry juice” solar cell data.Students will discuss results and draw conclusions about variables that may affect power generationStudents will visit a solar cell or silicon manufacturing facility and/or engage with guest speakers. Students will learn more detailed solar cell principles and manufacturing techniques involved in solar cell constructionStudents will research chemicals, materials and procedures for their own solar cell designsStudents will build and present models of their proposed solar cellsStudents will construct and test unique solar cellsStudents will present construction progress and project obstaclesStudents will format solar cell data, draw conclusions, and construct an engineering report as a research poster
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours

Cost Effective Solar Cells: Copper Oxide Solar Cell Construction and Testing

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
This lesson is designed to be completed in one 80-minute section, but can be done in two 40-minute sections. The teacher will facilitate student construction of copper oxide plates with electric burners or hot plates. Teachers will guide students in making a...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will construct an oxidized copper sheet solar cell Students will test an oxidized copper sheet solar cell for voltage and current
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours

Cost Effective Solar Cells: Copper Oxide Cell Data Sharing

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
This lesson is designed to be completed in one 40-minute section. The teacher will facilitate the sharing of student solar cell data from indoor and outdoor testing through a gallery walk session. Variables such as lighting, photovoltaic effect, copper...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will share and analyze oxidized copper sheet solar cell data
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour

Cost Effective Solar Cells: Titanium Dioxide Solar Cell Construction and Testing

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
7
Description:
This lesson is designed to be completed in two 80-minute sections. The teacher will show a basic procedure and video. The teacher will facilitate the construction of Organic Dye-Sensitized solar cells on coated glass plates with Titanium Dioxide. A fume hood...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will construct titanium dioxide coated “raspberry juice” solar cellsStudents will test titanium dioxide coated “raspberry juice” solar cells under various conditions 
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours

Cost Effective Solar Cells: Solar Cell Manufacturing Field Trip and/or Guest Speaker

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
9
Description:
This lesson is designed to be completed in two 80-minute sections. The teacher will facilitate a field trip to a nearby silicon manufacturing facility, solar panel manufacturing facility, or other semiconductor facility. These facilities often require long...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will visit a solar cell or silicon manufacturing facility and/or engage with guest speakers.Students will learn more detailed solar cell principles and manufacturing techniques involved in solar cell construction.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours

Cost Effective Solar Cells: Unique Solar Cell Construction & Testing

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
12
Description:
This lesson is designed to be completed in four 80-minute sections. The teacher will facilitate the construction of unique solar cells for student projects. General chemistry equipment and fabrication equipment will be needed for student construction and...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will construct their unique solar cellsStudents will test unique solar cellsStudents will revise procedures based on solar cell testing resultsStudents will re-build and re-test solar cells
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec

Cost Effective Solar Cells: Unique Solar Cell Engineering Report

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
14
Description:
This lesson is designed to be completed in three 80-minute sections. The teacher will have students write their engineering reports with the following sections: Introduction (taken from Lesson #10), Design (incorporating the model from Lesson #10), Methods,...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will format solar cell data into tables and graphsStudents will draw conclusions based on testing dataStudents will construct an engineering report in a research poster format
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours
Energy Transformations

What is Energy?

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Students will gain an understanding of the fundamentals of energy through observing a variety of energy transformations and develop a foundational vocabulary for identifying and discussing energy concepts. Students will make observations about how energy is...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will obtain the foundational knowledge of energy sources and forms of energy. In addition, students will learn that energy can transfer from one form to another. Students will build the understanding that there are different types of energy and many can not be directly observed.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Solar Mobile

Solar Mobile Design Challenge Unit Plan

Grades:
6-8
Description:
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...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will design circuits using various solar panels in order to power motors with propellers. Students will learn about solar energy transfer in order to power the motors on their solar aircraft.Students will research an aircraft and draw an outline of the aircraft onto foam board. Students will explore the concept of center of gravity. Students will test the efficiency of various light sources (incandescent, fluorescent, LED, halogen) for usage by a PV cell.Students will use their prior testing results and knowledge to engineer a solar-powered mobile. Students will work to transfer the most energy from the solar panels considering all the tested variables in order to power the fastest, most efficient mobile.Students will demonstrate and explain why their solar mobile should be chosen for the solar mobile display in the children’s museum. 
Author:
Kristy Schneider
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec

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