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

Solar Circuit

How Tilt Angle Affects Solar Cell Output

Grades:
6-8
Unit:
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Students will expose solar cells to a light source from a set distance and measure the output with a multimeter. Students will change the angle that the light source strikes the solar panel and measure the resultant output. They will compare and contrast the...
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Learning Goal(s):
After the completion of this lab, students will be able to describe how the angle of light exposure affects solar cell output, have practiced using a multimeter, and have analyzed collected data.
Author:
Todd Freiboth
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
Basic Stamp Microprocessor

Measuring Voltage Using a Microcontroller

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
In this lesson students will be introduced to series circuits, resistors, a photoresistor and a microcontroller. There’s a lot here, but it boils down to making a voltage divider circuit and measuring the voltage at different points. A second circuit includes...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will apply Ohm’s Law. Students will use a multimeter to measure current, voltage, and resistance. Students will use a breadboard to set up a series circuit. Students will read circuit diagrams. Students will calculate times for an RC circuit to change state. Students will prove that resistors in series have an equivalent resistance equal to their individual sums. Students will program the Basic Stamp to measure voltage levels in a voltage divider and RC circuit.
Author:
Pat Blount
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Basic Stamp Microprocessor

Controlling a Servo

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
In this lesson students will learn how to control a servo using the Basic Stamp. Then students will combine the photoresistor from the previous lesson with the servo to create a light controlled servo.
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to apply the pulse width modulation to a servo from a Basic Stamp. Students will synthesize two circuit designs using one to control the other through the Basic Stamp.
Author:
Pat Blount
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Basic Stamp Microprocessor

Creating a Light-Tracking Servo

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Students will learn how to program the Basic Stamp to use information from two photoresistors to point a servo at a light source. This will be the first degree of freedom for the flower head.
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will synthesize the previous lesson for light metering and servo control to design a servo controlled by two photoresistors that will track a light source.
Author:
Pat Blount
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Basic Stamp Microprocessor

Dual Axis Light Tracking

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students will take the previous lesson and apply them in creating a light tracker with two degrees of freedom. The axis of rotation will be about the horizontal and vertical. Teams will have everything they need to make this build work. They have already...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will create a solar tracker with two degrees of freedom.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Pat Blount
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Basic Stamp Microprocessor

Integrating Solar Power

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
At this point students should have a working robotic sunflower that will track the sun with 2 degrees of freedom. This next lesson powers the whole system with a photovoltaic module. A Zener diode is used to charge a 6V motorcycle battery which then supplies...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will create voltage regulator and construct a solar battery charger.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Pat Blount
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Lead Acid Battery

Solar Battery Charging

Grades:
7-12
Description:
Students will become familiar with circuits, cells, batteries, and photovoltaic cells, then plan, build, test, modify, and re-test a small solar battery charger designed to maintain batteries from a particular device.
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will build series, parallel, and parallel series circuits from a schematic diagram. Students will master the basic concept of battery charging. Students will be able to plan and build solar battery chargers for a given battery system. Intermediate students will calculate time to charge a depleted battery to its full capacity given specifications of a solar module. Students will be able to explain how a solar cell works with diagrams and words. Students will use a digital multi-meter to measure voltage, current, resistance, and diode polarity.
Author:
Luke Robbins
Estimated Activity Length:
9 hours
Energy Transformations

What is Energy?

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Students will gain an understanding of the fundamentals of energy through observing a variety of energy transformations and develop a foundational vocabulary for identifying and discussing energy concepts. Students will make observations about how energy is...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will obtain the foundational knowledge of energy sources and forms of energy. In addition, students will learn that energy can transfer from one form to another. Students will build the understanding that there are different types of energy and many can not be directly observed.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Energy Transformations

What is Energy Transfer?

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Students will continue to build an understanding of the fundamentals of energy through observing and describing a variety of energy transformations and build on their foundational vocabulary for identifying and discussing energy concepts. In this stage of the...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will obtain the foundational knowledge of energy sources and forms of energy. In addition, students will learn that energy can transfer from one form to another. Students will be able to match images of energy transformations to their respected vocabulary.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
 Foil Barge

What is Force?

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Students will build a barge out of tin foil and describe the forces acting it. The barge itself is designed only with the constraints that passengers within the barge will not get wet, allowing for students to experiment with different shapes and densities as...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will identify the Laws of Motion and learn about the forces acting on the system. There are multiple forces acting on a boat, some of these forces include, acceleration, friction, gravity and thrust.
Author:
Carol Patrick
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour