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Unit Plan: A Community Powered by Renewable Energy

Grades:
6-12
Description:
In this three-part comprehensive place-based and project-based unit, students will learn and apply rebnewable energy content to devise action plans at an individual, family, and local level. Students will use primary and secondary research explore energy...
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Learning Goal(s):
LEARNING GOALS – PART 11.Students will define and explain the differences between renewable and non-renewable energy sources.2.Students will research, summarize, and present the (short- and long-term) benefits and drawbacks of utilizing wind and solar energy. 3.Students will research, summarize, and present the (short- and long-term) benefits and drawbacks of utilizing fossil fuels.4.Students will generate questions about the greenhouse gas effect, identify and isolate variables, and then conduct an experiment to answer a class generated question about the greenhouse gas effect.5.Through Socratic seminar, students will use the knowledge gained over the course of this lesson to discuss the potential long- and short-term benefits and drawbacks of using fossil fuels, solar energy, and wind energy.6.Students will define scientific vocabulary related to electricity.7.Students will be able to describe how electricity moves through a conductor.8.Students will draw and describe series and parallel circuits.9.Students will identify ways that energy is consumed within their homes.10.Students will perform an energy audit of their home and calculate the amount of energy used by each electronic device and appliances.11.Students will create a spreadsheet demonstrating the electricity required to operate each electronic device and appliance, along with a summary of finding that clearly identifies how energy consumption can be reduced within their home.12.Students will explore various ways to reduce energy (goal is 30% reduction).13.Students will propose a variety of energy reduction plans and present those options to their families for discussion.14.After discussion with their families, students will itemize the agreed upon plan and identify specific actions that result in quantifiable outcomes that will implemented to reduce energy consumption by their families.LEARNING GOALS – PART 21.Students will gain background information regarding the limitations of having and wind and solar generating infrastructure within city and county limits, including environmental, aesthetic, and cultural considerations. 2.Students will work with professionals to compile criteria for placement of wind and solar energy sources.3.Students will conduct experiments to collect and analyze data to provide a conclusion to the questions: What is the optimal blade angle for generating the most energy? What is the optimal wind speed for generating the most energy?4.Students will use prevailing wind data in your region to examine energy output of various sized small wind turbines as wind speeds incrementally increase.5.Based on local wind speeds, students will determine a range of potential kilowatt generation from wind power.6.Students will conduct experiments to determine how electrical output of solar panels change as the tilt, azimuth, and shade coverage change.7.Students will generate, compare, and evaluate various solar configurations for a solar project in your region.LEARNING GOALS – PART 31.Students will utilize previously acquired information about energy needs to create a renewable energy proposal for your town or city.2.Students will perform a solar audit on their homes and use class averages to project the amount of solar energy that can be generated on residential properties.3.Students will assess where commercial and municipal solar projects can occur within your town or city to meet the energy needs for non-residential consumers.4.Students will determine potential locations for larger-scale wind and solar farms to augment the remaining energy needs of the community.5.Students will prepare a comprehensive renewable energy plan that totals the calculations for potential residential, commercial, and agency renewable energy generation.6.Students will calculate the average amount of energy generated by wind turbines and solar panels in various conditions to determine the quantity of renewable energy sources required to power the city.7.Students will use their projected energy calculations to propose a combination of wind and solar sources to meet your locality’s energy needs, based on benefits and drawbacks of each source of energy.8.Based on prevailing winds and building orientation, students will explore potential sites for wind turbines and solar panels.9.Students will develop a final proposal to meet future energy needs through a combination of energy generation and reduction of energy consumption, prepare a brief slide presentation that summarizes their comprehensive plans, and present their finding to local energy conservation groups and local government staff or elected officials.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours

Part 2 - Lesson 2: Wind Energy

Grades:
6-12
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
Students will learn about wind and how wind varies across geographies. Students will use Vernier Wind Turbine kits or homemade wind turbines to experiment with blade angles and wind speed. During experimentation, students will collect data as blade angles...
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Learning Goal(s):
1.Students will conduct an experiment where blade angles are the variable and wind speed is constant.2.Students will conduct an experiment where blade angles are constant and wind speed varies.3.Students will collect and analyze data to provide a conclusion to the questions: What is the optimal blade angle for generating the most energy? What is the optimal wind speed for generating the most energy?4.Students will research prevailing winds and use a provided map of their region to indicate wind speed and direction.5.Students will propose locations for wind farms based on optimal energy generation and zoning restrictions.6.Based on their proposals, students will determine a range of potential kilowatt generation from wind power.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours

Part 3 – Lesson 1: A Plan for Renewable Energy Goals

Grades:
6-12
Lesson Number:
7
Description:
Students will utilize their home energy audits from Part 1, the information they gathered from the wind and solar assessments in Part 2, and the knowledge they gained from the solar project in Part 2 to devise a plan for your city or town to meet renewable...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1.Students will utilize previously acquired information about energy needs to create a renewable energy proposal for their city or town.2.Students will perform a solar energy audit on their homes and use class averages to calculate the amount of renewable energy that can be generated on residential properties.3.Students will assess where commercial and local government solar projects can occur within the city or town to meet the energy needs for non-residential consumers.4.Students will determine potential locations for larger scale wind and solar farms to augment the remaining energy needs of the community.5.Students will prepare a comprehensive renewable energy plan that totals the calculations for potential residential, commercial, and agency renewable energy generation.6.Students will prepare a brief PowerPoint presentation that summarizes their comprehensive plans that will be presented to a panel of elected officials or local experts/stakeholders.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Estimated Activity Length:
4 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...
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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
Wadsworth OH thumbnail

Let’s Get Cooking!

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
10
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to provide students with a hands-on experience using the sun to cook cornbread or cookies. Students will also learn to use an infrared thermometer. There is also an optional extension for the class or individual students to...
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Learning Goal(s):
At the end of this lesson students will be able to: • Follow and prepare a recipe for cookies. • Learn to take and record oven temperature every 30 minutes using an infrared thermometer. • Evaluate the three ovens with a pros and cons list for each one after cooking. • Write one or two of their own questions. • Make suggestions for design changes.
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
Wadsworth OH thumbnail

Build the Ultimate Solar Oven

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
11
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to take everything the students have learned and experienced up to this point and use it to build their own Ultimate Solar Oven using items found at school, home, the Dollar store or home improvement store for under 5 dollars...
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Learning Goal(s):
At the end of this lesson students will be able to: plan, sketch, design and build a new solar oven. In addition, students will be able to cook food with their solar oven.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Solar Car Student

Solar Car Challenge: Background Research on Car Design

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Students will play around with the solar car kits to familiarize themselves with the materials in preparation for the solar car engineering challenge.
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
To introduce students to the problem that this project will attempt to solve: building a solar car that will go straight, far, and fast to win a race.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Karen Nelson
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
Solar Car Student

Solar Car Challenge: Team Brainstorm

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students will play around with the solar car kits to familiarize themselves with the materials in preparation for the solar car engineering challenge.
Energy Content:
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
To introduce students to the problem that this project will attempt to solve: building a solar car that will go straight, far, and fast to win a race.
Author:
Karen Nelson
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
Solar Car Student

Solar Car Challenge: Develop Your Solution

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
Students will play around with the solar car kits to familiarize themselves with the materials in preparation for the solar car engineering challenge.
Energy Content:
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
To introduce students to the problem that this project will attempt to solve: building a solar car that will go straight, far, and fast to win a race.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Karen Nelson
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
Solar Car Student

Solar Car Challenge: Test Your Solution

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
Students will play around with the solar car kits to familiarize themselves with the materials in preparation for the solar car engineering challenge.
Energy Content:
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
To introduce students to the problem that this project will attempt to solve: building a solar car that will go straight, far, and fast to win a race.
Author:
Karen Nelson
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min

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