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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
Lead Acid Battery

Solar Battery Charging

Grades:
7-12
Description:
Students will become familiar with circuits, cells, batteries, and photovoltaic cells, then plan, build, test, modify, and re-test a small solar battery charger designed to maintain batteries from a particular device.
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will build series, parallel, and parallel series circuits from a schematic diagram. Students will master the basic concept of battery charging. Students will be able to plan and build solar battery chargers for a given battery system. Intermediate students will calculate time to charge a depleted battery to its full capacity given specifications of a solar module. Students will be able to explain how a solar cell works with diagrams and words. Students will use a digital multi-meter to measure voltage, current, resistance, and diode polarity.
Author:
Luke Robbins
Estimated Activity Length:
9 hours
Solar Rooftop

Solar Site Assessment

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students will do an actual site assessment to determine the available solar resource for a chosen location.
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to use a Solar Pathfinder to determine the amount of solar resource lost to shading from nearby trees, buildings, etc. Students will be able to calculate the number of kWh of electricity that can be produced in a specific location and in a specific sized area. Students will be able to calculate the amount of carbon emissions that can be offset due to installing photovoltaic panels of various sizes. Students will be able to calculate the size array needed to offset all electricity use for the high school.
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Solar Charger Diagram

Background Research on Alternative Transportation Vehicles

Grades:
10-12
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Students completing this lesson will already have identified some of the problems inherent in the development of ideas to replace fossil fuels in the transportation sector. Students will now conduct some research to identify some of the pros and cons of...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will define BEVs, HEVs, HFCVs, and HICEVs 2. Students will compare the above vehicles and relate the pros and cons of each technology 3. Students will begin to evaluate which type of technology might be best suited for the goal of replacing fossil fuels in the transportation sector 4. Students will begin to brainstorm ideas for how solar energy might be used to enhance these technologies
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Solar Charger Diagram

Can Portable PV Charge Vehicles?

Grades:
10-12
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
In this lesson, students will begin to explore the potential and challenges related to using photovoltaics to supplement the power needed to charge batteries in BEVs. Students will test a variety of wiring options related to series and parallel wiring. Once...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will explore the role of series and parallel wiring as they pertain to voltage and amperage.Students will explore the processes involved with charging batteries and relate these processes to voltage and amperage.Students will test photovoltaic modules to identify voltage and amperage outputs.Students will calculate, using data from field tests, the maximum power that can be produced using photovoltaics within the constraints of a typical passenger vehicle’s surface area.Students will calculate charging times using various PV array power ratings.
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Solar Charger Diagram

Designing a Solar Charger

Grades:
10-12
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
In this lesson, students will further explore the potential and challenges related to using photovoltaics to supplement the power needed to charge batteries in BEVs. Students will be provided with a 12 V lead-acid battery and several 3 V, 1.5 A solar modules...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will explore the role of series and parallel wiring as they pertain to voltage and amperage. 2. Students will explore the processes involved with charging batteries and relate these processes to voltage and amperage. 3. Students will test photovoltaic modules to identify voltage and amperage outputs. 4. Students will design a system of wiring 3 V, 1.5 A modules together as a means to charge a 12 V lead-acid battery 5. Students will predict and test the effectiveness of their designed solar charger.
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours
Solar Charger Diagram

Photovoltaic Solutions "Shark-Tank Style"

Grades:
10-12
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
In this lesson, the students will take their knowledge gained in the previous activities to innovate design solutions that will allow PV technology to plan an increased role in the transportation sector. The challenge given to them is to design a BEV that...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will use data and mathematics to design a solution for using PV technology in the transportation sector. 2. Students will create a presentation with visuals and specs outlining their proposed solution. 3. Students will present and attempt to “sell” their products to a panel of judges.
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours