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

Keeping it Cool With Solar Unit Plan

Grades:
K-2
Description:
Keeping It Cool With Solar unit asks the question: “How might we design a structure that will keep us cool on a hot day?” As an anchoring phenomenon, students will be shown a time-lapse video of an ice cube melting, and a second phenomenon of a solar panel...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth’s surface. Students will plan and conduct investigations to determine whether structures made with various materials will keep objects cool when placed in a beam of light. Students will analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem in order to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs. Students will analyze data obtained from testing different materials to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for keeping an object cool. Students will test if solar panels and solar energy can help cool down their structure.
Author:
Mark Lewin
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours

Keeping it Cool With Solar: Hot Spot/Cool Spot

Grades:
K-2
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
This is the first lesson where K- 2 students will investigate the effect of sunlight on the earth’s surface (K - PS3-1). The students will observe a video of an ice cube melting as the anchoring phenomenon for the unit. In this first lesson, students will...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will consider and pose questions about what type of energy source can cause an ice cube to melt. Students will explore how the sun affects the Earth’s surface on the playground. Students will analyze data to understand how the sun affects the earth’s surface on the playground. Students will link the idea of sun/shade to hot/cool.
Author:
Mark Lewin
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min

Keeping it Cool With Solar: Making Shade

Grades:
K-2
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
This lesson is designed for one 30-minute session. After reviewing the hot/cool playground spots from Lesson 1, Students will be asked, “On a hot day, which materials might keep the ground the coolest?”. Students will be given tissue paper, photocopy paper,...
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Keeping it Cool With Solar: Design Time

Grades:
K-2
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
This lesson is designed for one 30-minute session. Students are shown materials. Students are asked “How might we design a structure that will keep the ground the coolest?” Students design their structures by discussing, collaborating, and drawing. Students...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students design structures that will optimize cooling the earth’s surface from sunlight.
Author:
Mark Lewin
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min

Keeping it Cool With Solar: Build Time

Grades:
K-2
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
This lesson is designed for one 30-minute session. Students build their structures based on their designs from Lesson 3. Students share evidence about ho w their structures affect the sunlight on the earth’s surface.
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Keeping it Cool With Solar - Structure Test: How Cool Are We?

Grades:
K-2
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
This lesson is designed for one 30-45 minute session. Students are shown how thermo infrared thermometers work. Teacher uses infrared thermometer and has students record the ground temperature outside and inside their structure. Students record and analyze...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students build shade structures that will optimize cooling the earth’s surface from sunlight. Students collect and analyze how cool the earth’s surface is inside their structure.
Author:
Mark Lewin
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec

Keeping it Cool With Solar: Add Solar Panel Redesign, Rebuild, Retest

Grades:
K-2
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
This lesson is designed for one 60-minute session. Students will share and discuss results. Students are shown solar panel and fan and are asked, “Using solar technology, how might we make the ground in our structures even cooler?” Using the solar panel and...
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Keeping it Cool With Solar: Reflections of an Engineer

Grades:
K-2
Lesson Number:
7
Description:
This lesson is designed for one 30-minute session. Students analyze their data and reflect through video recording about how solar technology and their structures kept the ground (earth’s surface) cooler.
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will reflect on how their structure and solar technology changed the Sun’s effect on the Earth’s surface
Author:
Mark Lewin
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min
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...
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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...
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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