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

Solar Car Engineering Challenge Unit

Grades:
6-8
Description:

Students will build a solar car using instructions provided (Sol Run). They will take measurements of their car and then test to see how fast it can travel a 3m track. After students obtain their initial results they will research how to improve the car’s...

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Learning Goal(s):
After the completion of this lesson students will be able to: • Describe how solar cars work • Accurately record and measure data • Use data to propose changes to experimental designs • Research a topic • Complete a full engineering assignment • Explain pros/cons of various prototypes • Work successfully within a group to accomplish a specific task • Brainstorm various ideas
Author:
Todd Freiboth
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
Solar Rooftop

Solar Pathfinder Tutorial

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
3
Description:

This lesson is designed to allow the students to practice assembling and using their Solar Pathfinders, along with analyzing the data. The students will take a single measurement and digital photograph at a location near the classroom designated by the...

Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to properly assemble and orient their solar pathfinder. Students will be able to properly record the information provided by a solar pathfinder. Students will be able to accurately analyze the information provided by the solar pathfinder to calculate the solar potential (kWh/m2/day) taking into account variables such as shading, climate and weather.
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
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

Replacing Fossil Fuels?

Grades:
10-12
Lesson Number:
1
Description:

As students begin to look at the role photovoltaics might play within the transportation energy sector, it is important for them to understand why the phasing-out of fossil fuels is such a daunting task. This lesson is designed to help students comprehend...

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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will define energy density. 2. Students will compare energy densities among various transportation fuel options. 3. Students will compare costs per unit of energy among various transportation fuel options. 4. Students will compare energy return on energy invested among various transportation fuel options. 5. Students will assess which fuels have the most potential to replace fossil fuels in the transportation sector using a weighted matrix.
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Relevant NGSS PE:
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....

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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...

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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
Kill-A-Watt_Meter

How much energy do YOU use?

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
3
Description:

Students will learn the difference between energy and power. They will then use this new understanding to compare the energy and power difference of light bulbs (incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, and LED) using a tool called a “Kill-A-Watt” meter....

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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to: • Explain the difference between power and energy • Proficiently use a “Kill-A-Watt” meter to determine the power and total energy usage of everyday devices • Compare the total energy used by common household devices • Brainstorm different ways we can conserve electrical energy
Author:
Craig Marais
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Solar Circuit

Circuit Analysis With Solar Energy: Measure the Power Consumed by Various Devices

Grades:
6-12
Description:

Students will set up a simple circuit using a solar module and three small loads. They will then use a multimeter to measure the voltage across each load and the current through each circuit. Students will then calculate the power consumption and...

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Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand that voltage is a measure of a difference in electric potential energy and that current is the rate at which charge flows through a circuit. Students will understand how to measure and quantify electricity. Students will become familiar with the relationships between the fundamental electrical quantities.
Author:
Emily Barrett
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Kill-a-Watt Meter

Home Energy Consumption

Grades:
6-8
Description:

Students will calculate the energy consumption of a set of common household devices based on their operating power rating and then investigate the power consumption of other devices in their homes.

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Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand power and energy as they relate to their electricity use. Students will be able to calculate energy consumption and the associated costs. Students will investigate ways they could reduce their own energy consumption
Author:
Deb Frankel
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour