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

Solar Thermal Jug

Passive Solar Water Heating

Grades:
6-12
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Students retrofit milk jugs to absorb and retain the most solar energy. This process involves students collecting data that measures the impacts of different variables on the solar energy absorbed by each collection device. Students should be able to see...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will cover/manipulate milk jugs to achieve the most solar energy absorption. 2. Students will calculate the joules of energy absorbed by the solar heated water. 3. Students will measure and graph the temperature changes of their solar milk jugs. 4. Students will gain an understanding of the amount of energy in sunlight.
Author:
Tami Church
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Compost Heater

Compost Bioreactor Design

Grades:
7-12
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Solar energy is available when the sun shines but energy can be supplemented at night by the release of energy during the composting of organic waste. In this activity, we will experiment with the feasibility of harnessing thermal energy to heat water with a...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will research the science of composting and proper maintenance methods to build their own bioreactor. 2. Students will research the proper composition of compost for maximum heat production. 3. Students will transfer the thermal energy in compost to a container of water heat water with by placing a vessel in the middle of the active compost/bioreactor.
Author:
Tami Church
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Wort Chiller

Bioreactor Water Circulation System

Grades:
7-12
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Solar energy is available when the sun shines but energy can be supplemented at night by the decomposition energy in a bioreactor. In this activity we will experiment with the feasibility of using heated water in a bioreactor to circulate it through a water...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will examine the properties of solar water pumping systems using KidWind solar water pumps or similar water pumps. 2. Students will experiment with the properties of water and its limitations in circulating due to pump power and distance. 3. Students will evaluate the use of a heat sink/chiller in the circulation of water through the bioreactor.
Author:
Tami Church
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours
Puerto Rico Power

When the Grid Goes Down and Stays Down

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Through an examination of media published in the five months following Hurricane Maria in 2017, students will develop an understanding of the electrical grid, the vulnerabilities of a grid system, and the immediate and long-term challenges of living without...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand the general structure of an energy grid Students will develop an understanding of the living conditions in Puerto Rico after Hurricane MariaStudents will collaborate to brainstorm needs to support safety, health and comfort in a natural disaster setting.Students will identify energy resources that one might desire to have in order meet the needs they identify. 
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Melody Childers
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Dye in Water

Developing a Model of Thermal Energy, Atoms, and Molecules

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Through a series of exploration and inquiry activities, students will explain kinetic molecular theory, atomic, and molecular structures. Students will be challenged to gradually increase the precision of their explanation of molecular-level structures and...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will develop a model through collaborative inquiry to explain thermal kinetic energy and predict the outcome when heat is added to a substance. Students will build argumentation from evidence skills through collaborative sense-making and gallery walk presentations. Students will develop a model of atomic and molecular structures.  
Author:
Melody Childers
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
9 hours
Earth Sun

School Energy Hunt

Grades:
3-4
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to help students understand that everything that is powered by energy comes from a source from nature. This is meant to be an introductory lesson on identifying sources of energy
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
At the end of this lesson students will be able to list equipment in the school that is powered by energy. They will also be able to identify the various types of energy that power the equipment.
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
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

Heat Transfer

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
7
Description:
Students will observe that heat naturally spreads from warmer places to cooler places and that some materials spread (conduct) heat and others keep it from spreading (insulate).
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will observe how some materials conduct heat and others insulate heat.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min
Arduino Angler Design

Illuminate Me: Merging Conductive Sewing, Technology, and Solar Power

Grades:
7-12
Description:
Light up your clothing using solar power! For this unit, students will attach thin, flexible solar modules to a bike helmet and recharge NiMH rechargeable batteries for a renewable energy battery pack. The rechargeable batteries will be used to light up...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will design and sew a wearable circuit using conductive thread. 2. Students will program a wearable microcontroller to light up garment with bright LEDs. 3. Students will incorporate solar power into a wearable garment project by recharging NiMH batteries for a renewable energy battery pack. 4. Students will apply knowledge of circuitry and energy transfer to maximize design.
Author:
Kristy Schneider
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Sources of Energy

What is Renewable Energy?

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Students learn about renewable energy sources through a read-aloud of Loreen Leedy’s The Shocking Truth about Energy. Students use Internet sources to obtain more information about alternate sources of energy. They complete a reflection to synthesize the...
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to list and describe the main natural resources that people get energy from. Students will be able to describe the affect the use of different sources of energy has on the environment. Students will be able to describe the advantage of renewable sources of energy.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Leah Gorman
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours

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