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

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:
0 sec
Earth Sun

Heat Transfer

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
7
Description:
Students will observe that heat naturally spreads from warmer places to cooler places and that some materials spread (conduct) heat and others keep it from spreading (insulate).
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will observe how some materials conduct heat and others insulate heat.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min
Earth Sun

Daily Variations in Solar Energy

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
8
Description:
Students will observe and articulate that even on cloudless days, the amount of solar energy changes with the time of day and the time of year. Solar energy is strongest when the sun is high in the sky (when shadows are shortest). The sun shines more directly...
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand that when the sun is lower in the sky, it casts a longer shadow on an object. When the sun is higher in the sky, it casts a smaller shadow. Students will also understand the importance of adjusting the position of a solar oven every half hour or so throughout the cooking process to insure that the bottom of the oven is facing the sun directly in order to maximize heat absorption.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
Wadsworth OH thumbnail

Let's Build Sun Ovens

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
9
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to introduce the students to three different styles of inexpensive solar ovens. Students will work together to build a File Box oven, an auto shade/bucket oven and a “Copenhagen” style oven. Students will follow written...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will follow written directions and use what they have learned about necessary components of a solar oven to build three different ovens in small groups.
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
Wadsworth OH thumbnail

Let’s Get Cooking!

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
10
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to provide students with a hands-on experience using the sun to cook cornbread or cookies. Students will also learn to use an infrared thermometer. There is also an optional extension for the class or individual students to...
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Learning Goal(s):
At the end of this lesson students will be able to: • Follow and prepare a recipe for cookies. • Learn to take and record oven temperature every 30 minutes using an infrared thermometer. • Evaluate the three ovens with a pros and cons list for each one after cooking. • Write one or two of their own questions. • Make suggestions for design changes.
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
Wadsworth OH thumbnail

Build the Ultimate Solar Oven

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
11
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to take everything the students have learned and experienced up to this point and use it to build their own Ultimate Solar Oven using items found at school, home, the Dollar store or home improvement store for under 5 dollars...
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Learning Goal(s):
At the end of this lesson students will be able to: plan, sketch, design and build a new solar oven. In addition, students will be able to cook food with their solar oven.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Earth Sun

Individual Independent Projects

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
12
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to allow students to choose an area of interest regarding solar power and research it further in a manner of their choice. Students will produce a final product to display or share at the “Salute to the Sun” culminating event at...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will plan, gather research materials and create a project of their choice. In doing so student will learn proper research methods (i.e., reliable sources) and how to categorize and translate information. In addition students will become comfortable and familiar presenting information to others. Lastly, students will also learn how to create a rubric for self evaluation.
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Simple Solar Water Heater

Making the Standard Solar Heater

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
In part one of the activity students will be asked to create a simple solar heater, measure the temperature change in a vial of water, then calculate the heat energy transferred to a vial of water. Students will construct the solar heater, place a set amount...
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Learning Goal(s):
In this activity students will learn that sunlight energy can be transformed into other forms of energy and that the amount of sunlight energy captured by an object can be quantified and measured.
Author:
Nathan Franck
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour

Manipulating Design Variables on Solar Heaters

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Part 2 builds on part 1, asking students to design a solar heater that more effectively collects solar energy. Students are provided with various building supplies and are asked to change one variable from the standard to construct a new, more effective solar...
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