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

Creating the Most Effective Solar Heater

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
This part can be staged as a competition or simply a personal challenge to beat the standard solar heater created in part 1. During this stage of the lesson students are asked to analyze data and results from part 2 and identify which characteristics of a...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
In this activity students demonstrate the ability to evaluate competing solutions to the problem of increasing the heat energy transferred to a vial of water.
Author:
Nathan Franck
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Arduino Angler Design

Illuminate Me: Merging Conductive Sewing, Technology, and Solar Power

Grades:
7-12
Description:
Light up your clothing using solar power! For this unit, students will attach thin, flexible solar modules to a bike helmet and recharge NiMH rechargeable batteries for a renewable energy battery pack. The rechargeable batteries will be used to light up...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will design and sew a wearable circuit using conductive thread. 2. Students will program a wearable microcontroller to light up garment with bright LEDs. 3. Students will incorporate solar power into a wearable garment project by recharging NiMH batteries for a renewable energy battery pack. 4. Students will apply knowledge of circuitry and energy transfer to maximize design.
Author:
Kristy Schneider
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
UV Color Changing Beads

Hypothesizing Why Solar Beads Change Color

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
The purpose of this activity is to introduce the idea that sunlight is energy and that this energy can be absorbed, converted into heat, or even cause a chemical reaction to occur. This lesson is also an introduction to the process of science, involving...
Energy Content:
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will be introduced to the vocabulary of observation, hypothesis, and evidence. Students will use the process of science discourse where people respectfully listen and disagree with each other’s ideas.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Leah Gorman
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min
Sources of Energy

What is Renewable Energy?

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Students learn about renewable energy sources through a read-aloud of Loreen Leedy’s The Shocking Truth about Energy. Students use Internet sources to obtain more information about alternate sources of energy. They complete a reflection to synthesize the...
Energy Content:
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to list and describe the main natural resources that people get energy from. Students will be able to describe the affect the use of different sources of energy has on the environment. Students will be able to describe the advantage of renewable sources of energy.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Leah Gorman
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Reading Concept Map

Energy Changes Forms

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Students read informational text about the forms of energy and energy transformation. They use a graphic organizer in the form of a concept map to take notes on details and examples. Optional – using solar beads, solicit ideas about what energy transformation...
Energy Content:
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand that energy changes form. Students will be able to name different forms of energy and give examples of some of the transformations of energy that commonly occur. Students will find details and examples in informational text.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Leah Gorman
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Kidwind Small Water Pump

Exploring Solar Powered Water Pumps

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students explore with a solar cell and a pump to discover how to make the pump run. They will hypothesize and informally test whether they can make the pump run faster or slower.
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will make observations about how a solar cell needs to be set up to push water through a pump and hypothesize about how energy is changing form as the pump runs.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Leah Gorman
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour

Using Multiple Solar Modules

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
Students first explore with 0.5 Volt solar cells to see whether adding cells to a circuit increases the amount of water pumped by a small pump. They are introduced to parallel and series wiring. They then design and carry out a formal experiment to test their...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will apply scientific ideas to design and test a solar powered water pump that moves water at the fastest rate. Students will experiment and build understanding of parallel and series wiring and how energy moves in these circuits. Students will record data accurately into a table.
Author:
Leah Gorman
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
Solar Mini House

Mini Solar Houses Unit

Grades:
4-6
Description:
In Lesson 1, the lesson focuses on understanding how the angle and orientation affect the amount of energy that is generated through use of a solar cell. Paper azimuth finders, Keva Planks, and multimeters will be used in order for students to draw...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will understand how to use an Azimuth finder to determine the direction and altitude that solar modules will face. 2. Students will learn how to describe why a solar module is pitched at a particular angle. 3. Students will understand how to measure the voltage and current for an electrical energy source. 4. Students will learn how to build a circuit that will light a light bulb with a switch and without a switch. 5. Students will understand that the electricity flows through a circuit from an energy source to a load. 6. Students will understand the difference between open and closed circuits. 7. Students will understand the similarities and differences between solar cells and batteries as an energy source. 8. Students will understand how electricity flows through a circuit (from energy sources to loads) with more than one source and more than one load. 9. Students will understand how to build series and parallel circuit and the characteristics of each. 10. Students will learn to power both a light and a fan. 11. Students will learn how to find a fault in a circuit. 12. Students will understand that the electricity flows through a circuit from an energy source to a load. 13. Students will understand the difference between open and closed circuits. 14. Students will identify the causes and solutions to various complications that arise in the construction of circuits. 15. Students will use the design process to create a roof to hold an adequate number of solar modules to power an LED and a fan. 16. Students will understand how to make a geometric net (a 2D drawing that when folded creates a 3D shape) for designing a roof.
Author:
Beverly Satterwhite
Estimated Activity Length:
8 hours
Car Charger Schematic

Electrical Energy and Solar Module Efficiency

Grades:
7-12
Unit:
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
This lesson will let students do research to define terms that will be used in this unit. They will record this information in their Journals, which can be scientific or simple homemade notebooks. This lesson will also introduce the multimeter, small solar...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will document necessary terms in their journals 2. Students will be able to set up a multimeter to measure voltage 3. Students will be able to set up a multimeter to measure current 4. Students will be able to calculate power from data collected 5. Students should be able to measure the collector area of a solar module (area of solar cell(s) within solar module) and represent this value in square meters (m^2)
Author:
Brett McFarland
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours
Car Charger Schematic

Activities and Assessment of Vocab and Units

Grades:
7-12
Unit:
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
This lesson is intended as a way to check for student understanding regarding the content presented in the previous lesson of this unit. The assessment takes place in two parts: a written assessment of content-related vocabulary and concepts as well as a...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to define voltage, current, power and energy as it relates to electricity.Students will be able to define electricity and have the units for all the above terms in their Journals.Students will be able to set up multimeters for voltage and current and will be assessed on this.
Author:
Brett McFarland
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours