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

All American Sun Oven

Reflecting Sunlight

Grades:
4-5
Unit:
Lesson Number:
12
Description:
Students will see a demonstration and conduct a simple experiment on reflecting sunlight. During this demonstration, they will determine the purpose of the reflectors on a solar oven’s design and make observations about their functionality. They will use what...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will learn that reflectors can be used to increase solar oven temperatures by concentrating solar energy. Students will use their observations from the prior lesson to make claims based on the concepts of reflection and absorption within a solar oven system. Students will use their observations from reflection and absorption experiments to determine how to best capture reflected solar energy.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Debbie Abel
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
Constructing Solar Panels

Solar Panel Construction, Orientation and Use Unit

Grades:
9-12
Description:
For this extended task, students will track the sun's altitude and Azimuth to determine the best position for their hand-built solar panel, learn solar cell operation basics, solar panel construction, series and parallel circuitry and basic array sizing.
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Learning Goal(s):
Modeling and data analysis
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
James Mulanax
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Solar Rooftop

Introduction to the Photovoltaic Effect

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
This lesson begins with basic chemistry with regards to atomic structure. The lesson then moves to understanding the special properties of silicon as a photoelectric semi- conductor. Building on this, the basic structure of photovoltaic solar cells is...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to describe the basic structure of a photovoltaic solar cell. Students will be able to outline or summarize how solar cells produce electricity. Students will be able to explain why silicon, boron and phosphorous are most often used to construct solar cells.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Solar Rooftop

Macro-Scale Solar

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
This lesson begins with basic chemistry with regards to atomic structure. The lesson then moves to understanding the special properties of silicon as a photoelectric semi- conductor. Building on this, the basic structure of photovoltaic solar cells is...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to describe the basic structure of a photovoltaic solar module implementing the ideas of series and parallel wiring. Students will be able to describe the basic structure of a photovoltaic solar array implementing the ideas of series and parallel wiring. Students will be able to describe the function and necessity of an inverter when using photovoltaic arrays.
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
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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More Details Less Details
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
Sphero SPRK+

Solar SPRK+ Unit Overview

Grades:
6-8
Unit:
Description:
This unit incorporates basic programming knowledge and solar energy into an engineering design challenge using Sphero SPRK+ robots. The theme for this challenge centers on the idea of Mars rovers, and the challenges faced in space exploration, specifically...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will develop tools to use in the Engineering Design Process.Students will learn drag and drop programming with Sphero Edu (formerly Lightning Lab).Students will determine how series and parallel circuits affect voltage and current.Students will understand how to use photovoltaic sources to charge a SPRK+.Students will design a chariot to carry a photovoltaic power source for a SPRK+.Students will learn to program a SPRK+ ball and chariot through a maze.
Author:
Deb Frankel
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Sphero SPRK+

Introduction to Drag and Drop Coding Using Scratch

Grades:
6-8
Unit:
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Students go through a series of exercises and projects/challenges to gain familiarity with coding, specifically with drag-and-drop coding. Students will look at Scratch, a free introductory computer programming language, which focuses on creative computing...
Energy Content:
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand how to properly order basic blocks of code to program simple functions.Students will determine the steps needed to debug issues in block programming.Students will devise methods to achieve basic animation-focused block programming tasks.Students will combine music and animation to create music videos and simple games using block coding.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Deb Frankel
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Sphero SPRK+

Solar SPRK+: Sphero Edu Coding

Grades:
6-8
Unit:
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
After working on a few Scratch drag and drop programs, participants will transition to Sphero Edu, a comparable drag and drop program for Lesson 2 to prepare to program a Sphero SPRK+ ball to navigate through a maze.
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will use block programming and Oval Language in order to make a SPRK+ perform a variety of motion-oriented tasks.Students will combine motion and sound functions using block programming and Oval Language.Students will track useful pieces of sequence code that they can reuse in order to get their SPRK+ to navigate a lengthy maze.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Deb Frankel
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours
Sphero SPRK+

Solar SPRK: Mars Exploration Debate

Grades:
6-8
Unit:
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Students will research and then debate about the value of Mars exploration through robotic and/or human missions using a debate structure.
Energy Content:
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will identify high quality scientific information through research that represents multiple sides of an argument.Students will communicate a pre-determined side of an argument verbally, using evidence to support their claims.
Author:
Deb Frankel
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours