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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
Earth Sun

Understanding Light

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
Students will observe and articulate their observations of the way that different materials reflect and absorb sunlight, transforming it into heat to varying degrees.
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will conduct simple experiments to learn what kind of materials absorb heat from the sun, what kind of materials reflect light from the sun and what color of materials do not get hot in the sun. This lesson gives students experience in beginning to learn about why certain materials and colors are used in solar ovens.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min
Earth Sun

Light Is Transformed into Heat

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
When absorbed (not reflected), light seems to disappear. What happens to it?
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will experience how some materials absorb heat from the sun and other materials reflect the sun and stay cool.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Earth Sun

Daily Variations in Solar Energy

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
8
Description:
Students will observe and articulate that even on cloudless days, the amount of solar energy changes with the time of day and the time of year. Solar energy is strongest when the sun is high in the sky (when shadows are shortest). The sun shines more directly...
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand that when the sun is lower in the sky, it casts a longer shadow on an object. When the sun is higher in the sky, it casts a smaller shadow. Students will also understand the importance of adjusting the position of a solar oven every half hour or so throughout the cooking process to insure that the bottom of the oven is facing the sun directly in order to maximize heat absorption.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
Earth Sun

Individual Independent Projects

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
12
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to allow students to choose an area of interest regarding solar power and research it further in a manner of their choice. Students will produce a final product to display or share at the “Salute to the Sun” culminating event at...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will plan, gather research materials and create a project of their choice. In doing so student will learn proper research methods (i.e., reliable sources) and how to categorize and translate information. In addition students will become comfortable and familiar presenting information to others. Lastly, students will also learn how to create a rubric for self evaluation.
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours

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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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
UV Color Changing Beads

Hypothesizing Why Solar Beads Change Color

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
The purpose of this activity is to introduce the idea that sunlight is energy and that this energy can be absorbed, converted into heat, or even cause a chemical reaction to occur. This lesson is also an introduction to the process of science, involving...
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be introduced to the vocabulary of observation, hypothesis, and evidence. Students will use the process of science discourse where people respectfully listen and disagree with each other’s ideas.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Leah Gorman
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min

Keeping it Cool With Solar Unit Plan

Grades:
K-2
Description:
Keeping It Cool With Solar unit asks the question: “How might we design a structure that will keep us cool on a hot day?” As an anchoring phenomenon, students will be shown a time-lapse video of an ice cube melting, and a second phenomenon of a solar panel...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth’s surface. Students will plan and conduct investigations to determine whether structures made with various materials will keep objects cool when placed in a beam of light. Students will analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem in order to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs. Students will analyze data obtained from testing different materials to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for keeping an object cool. Students will test if solar panels and solar energy can help cool down their structure.
Author:
Mark Lewin
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours

Keeping it Cool With Solar: Hot Spot/Cool Spot

Grades:
K-2
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
This is the first lesson where K- 2 students will investigate the effect of sunlight on the earth’s surface (K - PS3-1). The students will observe a video of an ice cube melting as the anchoring phenomenon for the unit. In this first lesson, students will...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will consider and pose questions about what type of energy source can cause an ice cube to melt. Students will explore how the sun affects the Earth’s surface on the playground. Students will analyze data to understand how the sun affects the earth’s surface on the playground. Students will link the idea of sun/shade to hot/cool.
Author:
Mark Lewin
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min

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