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...
+
-
More Details Less Details
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...
+
-
More Details Less Details
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
Simple Solar Water Heater

Making the Standard Solar Heater

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
In part one of the activity students will be asked to create a simple solar heater, measure the temperature change in a vial of water, then calculate the heat energy transferred to a vial of water. Students will construct the solar heater, place a set amount...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
In this activity students will learn that sunlight energy can be transformed into other forms of energy and that the amount of sunlight energy captured by an object can be quantified and measured.
Author:
Nathan Franck
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
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...
+
-
More Details Less Details
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
Solar Mobile

Solar Mobile Design Challenge Unit Plan

Grades:
6-8
Description:
This unit involves students learning about transferring solar energy to small motors, exploring the center of gravity and testing light sources (including the sun). The culminating engineering design project gives students the chance to pull together their...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will design circuits using various solar panels in order to power motors with propellers. Students will learn about solar energy transfer in order to power the motors on their solar aircraft.Students will research an aircraft and draw an outline of the aircraft onto foam board. Students will explore the concept of center of gravity. Students will test the efficiency of various light sources (incandescent, fluorescent, LED, halogen) for usage by a PV cell.Students will use their prior testing results and knowledge to engineer a solar-powered mobile. Students will work to transfer the most energy from the solar panels considering all the tested variables in order to power the fastest, most efficient mobile.Students will demonstrate and explain why their solar mobile should be chosen for the solar mobile display in the children’s museum. 
Author:
Kristy Schneider
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Energy Transformations

Introduction to Energy

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
This lesson will introduce students to each of the different types of energy using PowerPoint slides, partner activities, and hands-on experiences with different kinds of energy including: batteries (chemical), electrical circuits (electrical), motors (motion...
Energy Content:
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
• Students will be able to name and describe at least 5 kinds of energy • Students will be able to identify and explain simple energy transformations
Author:
Craig Marais
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Simple Circuit

Introduction to Circuits

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
This lesson begins with students having hands-on experiences creating electrical circuits using a battery, wires, and a light bulb. Students will learn that electricity is the flow of electrons, and how electricity moves within a circuit.
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
By the end of these two lessons students should be able to: 1. Create a simple circuit on their own when given the appropriate materials. 2. Diagram the flow of electrons within a circuit. 3. Differentiate between series and parallel circuits.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Craig Marais
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Electric Current Induction

Wave Attenuator Unit Overview

Grades:
6-12
Description:
Through a series of learning experiences, students will experiment with the basic concepts of motion to electrical energy transformation. Students start by building a series of models that demonstrate the interactions between magnetic and electric fields...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will demonstrate energy transfer through space using electromagnetic phenomena. 2. Students will design a model that demonstrates that a current-carrying wire can induce magnetism. 3. Students will define and build an electromagnet. 4. Students will demonstrate electromagnetic induction. 5. Students will describe and model the energy transfer and transformation in a wave attenuator. 6. Students will build a wave attenuator using a diagram and selected materials. 7. Students will test the model wave attenuator they built. 8. Students will investigate variables that may affect the output of an energy conversion device (wave attenuator). 9. Students will interpret data to identify which variables increase electrical output for these model wave attenuators. 10. Students will communicate results from scientific inquiry to identify factors that are important to optimizing the design of a wave attenuator.
Author:
Tabatha Roderick
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Electric Current Induction

Introduction to Electromagnetism

Grades:
6-12
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Through a series of goal-oriented activities and research, students will build physical models that demonstrate the interactions between magnetism and magnetic fields as well as interactions between magnetism and electric fields. Students will be challenged...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will demonstrate energy transfer through space using electromagnetic phenomena. 2. Students will design a model that demonstrates that a current-carrying wire can induce magnetism. 3. Students will define and build an electromagnet. 4. Students will demonstrate electromagnetic induction.
Author:
Tabatha Roderick
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
Wave Attenuator

Building a Tidal Wave Attenuator

Grades:
6-12
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
This lesson is designed to build upon investigations of electromagnetic energy by applying these phenomena to transfer the kinetic energy moving in waves to electricity by building a wave attenuator.
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will describe and model the energy transfer and transformation in a wave attenuator. 2. Students will build a wave attenuator using a diagram and selected materials. 3. Students will test the model wave attenuator they built.
Author:
Tabatha Roderick
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours

Pages