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

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...
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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

Manipulating Design Variables on Solar Heaters

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Part 2 builds on part 1, asking students to design a solar heater that more effectively collects solar energy. Students are provided with various building supplies and are asked to change one variable from the standard to construct a new, more effective solar...
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Creating the Most Effective Solar Heater

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
This part can be staged as a competition or simply a personal challenge to beat the standard solar heater created in part 1. During this stage of the lesson students are asked to analyze data and results from part 2 and identify which characteristics of a...
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Learning Goal(s):
In this activity students demonstrate the ability to evaluate competing solutions to the problem of increasing the heat energy transferred to a vial of water.
Author:
Nathan Franck
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Solar Mini House

Mini Solar Houses Unit

Grades:
4-6
Description:
In Lesson 1, the lesson focuses on understanding how the angle and orientation affect the amount of energy that is generated through use of a solar cell. Paper azimuth finders, Keva Planks, and multimeters will be used in order for students to draw...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will understand how to use an Azimuth finder to determine the direction and altitude that solar modules will face. 2. Students will learn how to describe why a solar module is pitched at a particular angle. 3. Students will understand how to measure the voltage and current for an electrical energy source. 4. Students will learn how to build a circuit that will light a light bulb with a switch and without a switch. 5. Students will understand that the electricity flows through a circuit from an energy source to a load. 6. Students will understand the difference between open and closed circuits. 7. Students will understand the similarities and differences between solar cells and batteries as an energy source. 8. Students will understand how electricity flows through a circuit (from energy sources to loads) with more than one source and more than one load. 9. Students will understand how to build series and parallel circuit and the characteristics of each. 10. Students will learn to power both a light and a fan. 11. Students will learn how to find a fault in a circuit. 12. Students will understand that the electricity flows through a circuit from an energy source to a load. 13. Students will understand the difference between open and closed circuits. 14. Students will identify the causes and solutions to various complications that arise in the construction of circuits. 15. Students will use the design process to create a roof to hold an adequate number of solar modules to power an LED and a fan. 16. Students will understand how to make a geometric net (a 2D drawing that when folded creates a 3D shape) for designing a roof.
Author:
Beverly Satterwhite
Estimated Activity Length:
8 hours
Car Charger Schematic

Electrical Energy and Solar Module Efficiency

Grades:
7-12
Unit:
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
This lesson will let students do research to define terms that will be used in this unit. They will record this information in their Journals, which can be scientific or simple homemade notebooks. This lesson will also introduce the multimeter, small solar...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will document necessary terms in their journals 2. Students will be able to set up a multimeter to measure voltage 3. Students will be able to set up a multimeter to measure current 4. Students will be able to calculate power from data collected 5. Students should be able to measure the collector area of a solar module (area of solar cell(s) within solar module) and represent this value in square meters (m^2)
Author:
Brett McFarland
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours
Car Charger Schematic

Activities and Assessment of Vocab and Units

Grades:
7-12
Unit:
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
This lesson is intended as a way to check for student understanding regarding the content presented in the previous lesson of this unit. The assessment takes place in two parts: a written assessment of content-related vocabulary and concepts as well as a...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to define voltage, current, power and energy as it relates to electricity.Students will be able to define electricity and have the units for all the above terms in their Journals.Students will be able to set up multimeters for voltage and current and will be assessed on this.
Author:
Brett McFarland
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Sun in Space

Our Place in Space: Cosmic Rays

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
NOTE: SUN PHOTOMETER SUMULATOR AT CAS.HAMPTONU.EDU SEEMS TO BE NO LONGER AVAILABLE. Using a map of school buildings, students will pick four areas to monitor over the year using wireless weather stations and the Solar Power Meter. In a following lesson,...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will learn how the sun affects their school by measuring the temperature at different locations around the building in the fall, winter, and spring. They will learn how to measure solar energy and look for trends in temperature and solar power over the year. These trends will then be used to investigate how energy reaches Earth from the Sun.
Author:
Jamie Repasky
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
Sun in Space

Our Place in Space: Tracking the Earth's Path Around the Sun

Grades:
1-3
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
During sessions in October, January, and April we will discuss observations about the weather during that season (temperature, length of day, precipitation) and explore how this relates to the Earth’s movement around the Sun. The lesson series will start with...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able describe how the Earth orbits the Sun and how the tilt of the planet creates the seasons by recording the ‘Sun’s path’ in our sky in the fall, winter, and spring.
Author:
Jamie Repasky
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
6 hours
Solar Circuit

How the Amount of Light Affects a Solar Cell

Grades:
6-8
Unit:
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Students will cover portions of a solar cell and measure the output with a multimeter. They will compare and contrast the outputs of different percentages shaded and different configurations using the same percentage shaded.
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Author:
Todd Freiboth
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
Solar Circuit

How Light Intensity Affects Solar Cell Output

Grades:
6-8
Unit:
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Students will expose solar cells to a light source from different distances and measure the output with a multimeter. They will compare and contrast the outputs that the different distances produce.
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
After the completion of this lab, students will be able to describe how the light intensity affects solar cell output, have practiced using a multimeter, and have analyzed collected data.
Author:
Todd Freiboth
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min