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...
+
-
More Details Less Details
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

Scaling up to Power Production Let’s use Data to Optimize the Performance of a Solar Cell Array

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Somewhat similar to the first part of the wind turbine project from Lesson 3, students are tasked with optimizing the performance of a photovoltaic system. This objective both allows students to apply the engineering-design process they absorbed in previous...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Design a 50 Year Energy Plan

What is Our Plan?

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
With all the pieces in place, this Unit’s final lesson asks students to code a spreadsheet that calculates and mathematically predicts the environmental impacts of different energy sources and strategies over a 50 year timespan. Divided into five different...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students utilize their knowledge of energy’s impact on global systems as well as the process of energy generation in order to inform their development of a 50-year Energy Plan divided into decades. 
Author:
Bradford Hill
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours
Hot Pack

Unit Plan - Chemical Differences in Emergency Energy Sources

Grades:
7-8
Description:
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...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
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. To understand the nature of a variety of energy needs and how different applications have different optimal solutions. 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). To understand that the properties of substances depends upon the atomic / molecular structure, which changes with chemical reactions. To build a circuit that includes a solar module and measure the voltage and current. To gather and evaluate information to describe the impact on society of converting natural resources into PV cells. To design, build and test a device that uses a chemical reaction to generate or absorb thermal energy. Evaluate and revise a plan for the energy resources one should store to prepare for a natural disaster. 
Author:
Melody Childers
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Fuel Inquiry Poster

Fuels and PV Cells

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Students will return to the phenomena of energy resources to support safety, health, and comfort in an emergency situation. They will distinguish between how common materials provide energy and develop an understanding of how the atomic and molecular...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students explore the conservation of mass in chemical reactions by observing and modeling combustion reactions and exploring the essential question/phenomena, “is all fire the same?” Students will use information resources and a 3D model of a PV cell to understand how solar modules generate electricity. “How do PV cells make electricity?”Students will construct circuits to explore PV modules and variables involved in powering devices. Students evaluate, revise, and justify the energy resources suggested on an emergency preparedness supply list. 
Author:
Melody Childers
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Solar Cell Manufacture

Research and Evaluate the Impact on the Environment and Society of Converting Natural Resources into PV Cells

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students will engage in guided research to explore resource acquisition, material processing, and electricity generation associated with photovoltaic cells. Opportunity for differentiation exists in the level of assistance in guiding the research, the...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will evaluate information to describe the impact on society from resource extraction and materials-processing for PV cells.2. Students will communicate their understandings of different impacts from converting natural resources into PV cells through participation in a Socratic Seminar. 
Author:
Melody Childers
Estimated Activity Length:
6 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...
+
-
More Details Less Details
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: Solar Energy Equity and Sustainability

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
This lesson is designed to span 2 days with 40-minute sections. On the introduction day, three solar power articles will be read to set up a Socratic Seminar dialogue on Day 2. A teacher will need to read the articles. The articles investigate the pros and...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will read at least three articles discussing solar power generation, and the social, cultural, and economic implications of sustainable solar energyStudents will discuss social, cultural, and economic implications of sustainable solar energy in a Socratic Seminar format.
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 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...
+
-
More Details Less Details
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,...
+
-
More Details Less Details
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

Pages