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

Dye in Water

Developing a Model of Thermal Energy, Atoms, and Molecules

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Through a series of exploration and inquiry activities, students will explain kinetic molecular theory, atomic, and molecular structures. Students will be challenged to gradually increase the precision of their explanation of molecular-level structures and...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will develop a model through collaborative inquiry to explain thermal kinetic energy and predict the outcome when heat is added to a substance. Students will build argumentation from evidence skills through collaborative sense-making and gallery walk presentations. Students will develop a model of atomic and molecular structures.  
Author:
Melody Childers
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
9 hours
Fuel Inquiry Poster

Fuels and PV Cells

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Students will return to the phenomena of energy resources to support safety, health, and comfort in an emergency situation. They will distinguish between how common materials provide energy and develop an understanding of how the atomic and molecular...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students explore the conservation of mass in chemical reactions by observing and modeling combustion reactions and exploring the essential question/phenomena, “is all fire the same?” Students will use information resources and a 3D model of a PV cell to understand how solar modules generate electricity. “How do PV cells make electricity?”Students will construct circuits to explore PV modules and variables involved in powering devices. Students evaluate, revise, and justify the energy resources suggested on an emergency preparedness supply list. 
Author:
Melody Childers
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Solar Cell Manufacture

Research and Evaluate the Impact on the Environment and Society of Converting Natural Resources into PV Cells

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students will engage in guided research to explore resource acquisition, material processing, and electricity generation associated with photovoltaic cells. Opportunity for differentiation exists in the level of assistance in guiding the research, the...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will evaluate information to describe the impact on society from resource extraction and materials-processing for PV cells.2. Students will communicate their understandings of different impacts from converting natural resources into PV cells through participation in a Socratic Seminar. 
Author:
Melody Childers
Estimated Activity Length:
6 hours
Hot Pack

Engineering a Hot Pack

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
Through a series of inquiry activities, students will discover the properties of the chemical reaction of dissolving CaCl 2 in water, the effect of stirring, and of adding baking soda and sodium polyacrylate crystals. Once initial data is collected, students...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will collect data to characterize a chemical reaction Students will identify the criteria and constraints of an engineering challenge. Students will design and build a hot pack that meets the criteria of the project. Students will collect data to support their proposed design. 
Author:
Melody Childers
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours
Earth Sun

School Energy Hunt

Grades:
3-4
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to help students understand that everything that is powered by energy comes from a source from nature. This is meant to be an introductory lesson on identifying sources of energy
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
At the end of this lesson students will be able to list equipment in the school that is powered by energy. They will also be able to identify the various types of energy that power the equipment.
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Earth Sun

The Amazing Cardboard Cook-O-Matic

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to introduce the students to the concept of solar ovens and cooking with energy from the sun.
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Learning Goal(s):
At the end of this lesson students will understand that the sun can be used to cook food. They will also be introduced to the basic components required to build a successful solar oven.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Earth Sun

Our Sensational Sun

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to record information that the students learn about the sun on a chart. This chart will be used for the entire unit. It will serve as a good reference for guiding the lessons and providing information for student research.
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
At the end of this lesson, students will have written numerous facts about the sun that they 1) already know, 2) want to know and 3) have learned.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min
Earth Sun

Saving Lives with Solar Ovens

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students will be introduced to Solar Cookers International. Students will learn about different solar cooker designs and how they function. Students will learn the pros and cons on the use of solar ovens in developing countries. Students will gain an...
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will learn about different solar cooker designs and how they function. Students will learn the customs, jobs, food and clothing of people in different countries of Africa.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
Earth Sun

Understanding Light

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
Students will observe and articulate their observations of the way that different materials reflect and absorb sunlight, transforming it into heat to varying degrees.
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will conduct simple experiments to learn what kind of materials absorb heat from the sun, what kind of materials reflect light from the sun and what color of materials do not get hot in the sun. This lesson gives students experience in beginning to learn about why certain materials and colors are used in solar ovens.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min
Earth Sun

Light Is Transformed into Heat

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
When absorbed (not reflected), light seems to disappear. What happens to it?
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will experience how some materials absorb heat from the sun and other materials reflect the sun and stay cool.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
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