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

2-Volt, 500mA Solar Modules

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students will learn the basics of how a solar cell generates electricity and observe the effects on a small electrical load attached to a solar module under a variety of conditions. They will build upon knowledge gained in previous lessons dealing with energy...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to describe, in basic terms, the way that electricity is generated from a solar cell. Students will be able to determine that energy from the sun is being converted directly into electricity. Students will understand that this electrical energy that is produced in this energy transfer is able to perform the work required within a small load.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Sunlight Incident Angle

How to Measure Output of Solar Modules

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
Students will measure output from solar module before a load is attached and relate it to real world output. They will make these measurements using a multimeter and be able to determine the optimal angle at which their module generates a current flow. This...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will demonstrate that solar modules create electricity when light strikes the module. Students will determine the optimum angle for the generation of current by a solar cell when given a light source (indoors or outdoors using the sun). Students will be able to effectively use a digital multimeter to measure current and voltage produced by a solar cell.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour

Solar Boat Science Investigation

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
Design a science investigation to test a solar speedboat, airboat, and surface submarine. Students will use the “Planning an Investigation Template” in order to determine their motivations for designing a solar boat, make predictions about the outcomes with...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will design an investigation to test three models of solar vehicles. Students will justify which materials will be used in their construction. Students will be able to support their design with reasoning. Students will determine different methods of collecting data from their experiment relating to three types of solar boats.
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min

Building Solar Boats

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
7
Description:
Students will follow step-by-step instructions to build their solar boats. They will troubleshoot as necessary by making sure electricity flows into the motor to make the vehicles move by propeller or gears. They will be using their planned investigations...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will follow step-by-step instructions to build their solar boats. They will troubleshoot as necessary by making sure electricity flows into the motor to make the vehicles move by propeller or gears. Students will determine different data points that are useful in the determining the most effective design for a solar powered boat. Students will undergo the process of redesign, noting why they made changes to particular variables on their boat and noting how these changes played out.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Solar Boat Race

Collect Data and Compare Performance of Different Boat Designs

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
8
Description:
Students will race the solar speedboats, airboats, and surface submarines and then compare the performance results and of the various types of solar boats made by the class. Students will compare and contrast forces acting on the system by examining the...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will compare and contrast forces acting on the system by examining the results of the airboat, speedboat and surface submarine races. Students will collect quantitative and qualitative data points that denote the effectiveness of each boat design. Students will compare observations made during the race and draw conclusions from these observations.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Carol Patrick
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Solar Boat Race

Analyze Data and Develop Conclusions

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
9
Description:
Students have performed the investigation. They will now analyze their data, refer to their initial predictions, and develop their conclusions. Students will have the opportunity to discuss the usefulness of both quantitative and qualitative data forms,...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will analyze data from the solar boat races and develop conclusions. Students will write out their conclusions in a clear, articulate manner that demonstrates the usage of evidence from their own observations. Students will determine specific uses for quantitative vs. qualitative data in science experiments.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Carol Patrick
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
2-wheel-driveSolarCar_IMG_4600.jpg

Solar Car Challenge: Introduction of the Problem

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Students will play around with the solar car kits to familiarize themselves with the materials in preparation for the solar car engineering challenge.
Energy Content:
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
To introduce students to the problem that this project will attempt to solve: building a solar car that will go straight, far, and fast to win a race.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Karen Nelson
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Solar Car Student

Solar Car Challenge: Criteria, Constraints and Background

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Students will play around with the solar car kits to familiarize themselves with the materials in preparation for the solar car engineering challenge.
Energy Content:
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
To introduce students to the problem that this project will attempt to solve: building a solar car that will go straight, far, and fast to win a race.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Karen Nelson
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
Solar Car Student

Solar Car Challenge: Background Research on Car Design

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Students will play around with the solar car kits to familiarize themselves with the materials in preparation for the solar car engineering challenge.
Energy Content:
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
To introduce students to the problem that this project will attempt to solve: building a solar car that will go straight, far, and fast to win a race.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Karen Nelson
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
Solar Car Student

Solar Car Challenge: Team Brainstorm

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students will play around with the solar car kits to familiarize themselves with the materials in preparation for the solar car engineering challenge.
Energy Content:
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
To introduce students to the problem that this project will attempt to solve: building a solar car that will go straight, far, and fast to win a race.
Author:
Karen Nelson
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min