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
Design a 50 Year Energy Plan

Diving into the Physics of Motors and Generators

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Using energy analysis and some tinkering students hand wind speakers to play music from a phone. This acts as a phenomenon to engage students in the exploration of electromagnetism. At this point, they have created a motor, which utilizes electric current to...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Through hands-on exploration, create a working speaker for a cellphone. 2. Use the creation of a speaker to observe as a model for the process of generating electrical current in a simple generator/motor. 
Author:
Bradford Hill
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours

Cost Effective Solar Cells: Engaging with Solar Panels

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
This lesson is designed to span 2 days with 80-minute sections. On the first day, the teachers will challenge the students to assemble circuits with solar panels that can power up 1) a motor with fan, 2) a music-playing circuit, and 3) an LED. Students will...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will construct working solar panel arrays to power LEDs, fans, and music boxesStudents will sketch models of working solar circuits
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours

Cost Effective Solar Cells: Solar Panel Basics

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
This lesson is designed to be completed in one 40-minute section. Students will have already learned the concepts of basic circuits, including voltage, current, power, parallel and serial circuits. Teachers will then explain the basic concept of solar cells,...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will review circuitry basics and solar cell layersStudents will model N-layers, P-layers, and the N-P junction in a physical circuit activity
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour

Cost Effective Solar Cells: Solar Panel Data Sharing

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
This lesson is designed to be completed in one 40-minute section. The teacher will facilitate the sharing of student solar panel data from indoor and outdoor testing with fans, music circuits, LEDs and any other combinations that were constructed. Teachers...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will analyze and share out power generation results with classmates
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec

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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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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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: Titanium Dioxide Raspberry Solar Cell Data Sharing

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
8
Description:
This lesson is designed to be completed in one 80-minute section. The teacher will facilitate the sharing of student titanium dioxide solar cell results with emphasis on variables during data collection. Teachers will demonstrate spreadsheet sorting for...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students 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 generation.
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 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

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