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

Cost Effective Solar Cells: Unique Solar Cell Engineering Report

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
14
Description:
This lesson is designed to be completed in three 80-minute sections. The teacher will have students write their engineering reports with the following sections: Introduction (taken from Lesson #10), Design (incorporating the model from Lesson #10), Methods,...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will format solar cell data into tables and graphsStudents will draw conclusions based on testing dataStudents will construct an engineering report in a research poster format
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
4 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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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...
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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...
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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:
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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:
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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:
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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.
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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...
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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