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

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 the...
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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

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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More Details Less Details
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
Solar Updraft Tower

Solar Updraft Towers Unit Overview

Grades:
3-8
Description:
Students will combine research, direct observations, and hands-on investigation to lead them into an engineering design project involving the construction of a solar updraft tower. During this process, students will make references to specific phenomena they...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand ten renewable and non-renewable energy sources on the earth.Students will learn the locations of different energy sources on the earth.Students will learn the history of energy sources and how humans have used them.Students will learn about innovations and inventions used to find, recover, store, and release energy for human consumption.Students will understand that hot air risesStudents will understand why hot water and hot air rise and cold air and cold water sink.Students will learn that wind is produced by warm air rising and cold air sinking.Students will learn that the energy of moving hot air can be converted into other forms of energy.Students will understand that energy from the sun can be converted into heat.Students will discuss the effects of the chimney stack phenomenon.Students will understand that wind energy can be converted into other forms of energy.Students will determine different methods to increase the effectiveness of a wind turbine blade by harnessing and converting the mechanical energy of the wind.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.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.
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Sources of Energy

Informative Writing: Where Does Energy Come From?

Grades:
3-8
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
This lesson is a (stand alone or in-unit) guided non-fiction research and writing project, which includes a differentiated choice menu and list of ideas for publishing the completed project. Each student will choose one of ten energy sources to research,...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand ten renewable and non-renewable energy sources on the earth.Students will learn the locations of different energy sources on the earth.Students will learn the history of energy sources and how they have been used by humans.Students will learn about innovations and inventions used to find, recover, store and release energy for human consumption.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Thermal Convection

Where Does Energy Go?

Grades:
3-8
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
This lesson consists of six demonstration activities that show examples of ways in which water and air absorb heat to transfer energy from one place to another. These demonstration activities act as unique phenomena in which students can generate questions to...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand that hot air risesStudents will understand why hot water and hot air rise and cold air and cold water sink.Students will learn that wind is produced by warm air rising and cold air sinking.Students will learn that the energy of moving hot air can be converted into other forms of energy.Students will understand that energy from the sun can be converted into heat.Students will discuss the effects of the chimney stack phenomenon.
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours
WindMaterials_DSCN2143.jpg

Wind Power: A Hands on Experience

Grades:
3-8
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
This lesson challenges students to work in teams to design successful turbine blades for the “KidWind Firefly”. The firefly has an LED light that lights up when the students have designed turbine blades that spin effectively. This lesson provides students...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand that wind energy can be converted into other forms of energy.Students will determine different methods to increase the effectiveness of a wind turbine blade at harnessing and converting the mechanical energy of the wind.
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
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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More Details Less Details
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