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

Solar Updraft

Let's Build Our Wind and Solar Energy Toy

Grades:
3-8
Lesson Number:
4
Description:

Students will combine what they learned in previous lessons using their investigations of convection-related phenomena to design a device that will convert light energy from the sun into thermal energy and utilize the resulting convection currents. Their...

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Learning Goal(s):
Students will determine that thermal energy resulting from the sun’s radiation can create an updraft that will power a turbine to spin.                                                Students will identify characteristics of turbine design that improve the success of their device.Students will utilize content from previous phenomena they investigated, such as the chimney stack effect and Norwegian candle toys, to determine how to best harness the energy transformed by their device from the sun.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
Solar Updraft Tower

Learning About Solar Updraft Towers

Grades:
3-8
Lesson Number:
5
Description:

This lesson helps students learn about solar updraft towers being planned and built around the world to help solve the energy crisis by using unlimited power from the sun. This will provide real world context to the engineering challenge they engaged in...

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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to define and explain what a solar updraft tower is.Students will make connections between their previous engineering challenge and a real world solution to the world’s growing energy demands, including careers.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec

Unit Plan: Understand E-Waste Through Battery Design

Grades:
4-5
Description:

In this lesson students will further explore their understanding of energy, electricity, and basic circuits. Students will begin their exploration of batteries by questioning where batteries end up when we are done using them, making connections to e-waste...

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Learning Goal(s):
1.Students will make connections to real world problem solving with e-waste.2.Students will explore battery design and transfer of energy through hands on experiments with household items.3.Students will evaluate and analyze problems with e-waste and research solutions.4.Students will draw and label models to explain circuits demonstrating the movement of energy.5.Students will be able to explain how the measured and compared batteries based on the knowledge learned about volts and using a voltmeter.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours

How might we design a battery that reduces e-waste? Phenomenon and Exploration

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
1
Description:

During this introduction lesson series students will explore the guiding phenomenon to understand e-waste and connect it to battery design. Students will utilize online resources to learn about problems from e-waste around the world and the environmental...

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Learning Goal(s):
1.Students will learn about the phenomenon of e-waste through online resources to explore the history of electronics.2.Students will ask questions and define problems involving the environmental impact of electronics and human impact.3.Students will evaluate and obtain information about electronic waste from online resources such as news articles and videos.4.Students will learn (or review) knowledge of circuits to design a model and explain how a circuit works.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours

Exploring Eco-Friendly Battery Design

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
2
Description:

In this lesson students will experiment with everyday household items to make batteries. Students will use lemons, potatoes, pennies, and cola to make batteries, and compare the amount of voltage produced. These lessons can be expanded to test a variety of...

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Learning Goal(s):
1.Students will explore methods to produce energy from everyday items such as potatoes, lemons, pennies, and cola.2.Students will explore battery design and transfer of energy through hands on experiments with household items.3.Students will measure voltage and experiment methods to increase voltage. 4.Students will extend lessons to test out a variety of other materials such as varieties of fruits, vegetables, and sodas to compare different voltage produced. 5.Students will collect and record data from all their experiments to compare the different voltage produced. 6.Students will display data in charts or graphs to analyze the outcomes of their experiments. 
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Energy Transformations

Energy Sort

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
1
Description:

Students will be put in groups of six to eight students. Each group will have images of various items that produce heat (light bulb, hair dryer, refrigerator, computer, game system, television, car, motorcycle, microwave, space heater, etc.). The goal is...

Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will begin to think about various appliances and items that they use and the energy that those items consume. Students will make connections between common objects in their lives and energy transformations taking place.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Eric Gronseth
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
Sources of Energy

Brainstorm Energy Source

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
2
Description:

Students will individually brainstorm sources of energy. This process will take place on both an individual and on a group level, allowing for students to share ideas about their perceptions of energy. On a sheet of paper, students will write or draw...

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Learning Goal(s):
Students will begin to think about various appliances and items that they use and the energy that those items consume. Students will brainstorm ideas of energy sources without worrying about right and wrong answers. Students will create a visual reference for different types of energy resources with their classmates.
Author:
Eric Gronseth
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
Sources of Energy

Energy Research Project

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
3
Description:

Students will build on their knowledge of renewable and non-renewable energy (third grade standards). Students will learn that all electricity production has impact on the earth. The class will do a compare/contrast activity of a renewable and a non-...

Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to describe the basic principles of various forms of energy and write a detailed description of one of those forms of energy. This written product will include common uses of this form of energy, costs, and basic advantages and disadvantages of using this form of energy.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Eric Gronseth
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Checklist

Home Energy Survey

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
4
Description:

Students will learn how to determine what sources of energy are used in their home. They will determine types of energy used in their home through observation and interviews. This will be documented through a home energy survey sheet that students will...

Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to describe the basic principles of various forms of energy and write a detailed description of one of those forms of energy. This written product will include common uses of this form of energy, costs, and basic advantages and disadvantages of using this form of energy.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Eric Gronseth
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
Sun

Solar Energy Basics

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
5
Description:

Students will learn the basics of solar power and the difference between photovoltaic solar power and passive solar power. They will also learn the pros and cons of solar power and be able to describe the advantages and disadvantages of using solar power...

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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to describe the basic principles of solar power and list advantages and disadvantages of using solar power. Students will be able to distinguish between passive solar and photovoltaic solar power. Students will be able to determine what data from a solar array represents. Students will be able to determine the cause of energy generation trends when observed over longer periods of time.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Eric Gronseth
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min