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

Solar Car Student

Solar Car Challenge: Develop Your Solution

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
5
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
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
Solar Car Student

Solar Car Challenge: Test Your Solution

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
6
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:
+
-
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
Solar Car Student

Solar Car Challenge: Solutions Briefing

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
7
Description:
Students will play around with the solar car kits to familiarize themselves with the materials in preparation for the solar car engineering challenge.
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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: Redesigning Your Solution & Results of the Design Process Activity

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
8
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:
+
-
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
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours

Solar Car Engineering Challenge Unit

Grades:
6-8
Description:
Students will build a solar car using instructions provided (Sol Run). They will take measurements of their car and then test to see how fast it can travel a 3m track. After students obtain their initial results they will research how to improve the car’s top...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
After the completion of this lesson students will be able to: • Describe how solar cars work • Accurately record and measure data • Use data to propose changes to experimental designs • Research a topic • Complete a full engineering assignment • Explain pros/cons of various prototypes • Work successfully within a group to accomplish a specific task • Brainstorm various ideas
Author:
Todd Freiboth
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min

Gears vs. Pulleys on Solar Cars

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Students will design an investigation to test differences between solar vehicles. This is an excellent follow-up lesson to the solar boat activity or any other activity in which students have already experimented with other types of solar vehicles. However,...
Energy Content:
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will design an investigation to test differences between solar vehicles. They will make claims based on backing evidence, without having directly tested their vehicles before this point. They will use background knowledge regarding pulleys and gears in order to begin the design process. Students will determine which specific design they will be moving forward with for the next lesson.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min

Solar Cars Science Investigation

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Students will design a science investigation to test solar car with a pulley or with a variety of gear sizes. In the previous lesson, they were introduced to the different types of systems that can be employed on their car. In this lesson they will use the “...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will design an investigation to test solar vehicles. They will determine which particular materials they will use in the testing of their chosen format. Students will allow for redesign to take place by determining variables that can be manipulated in a measurable format. Students will determine data that will be useful to collect in the testing of their vehicle design.
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min

Build Solar Cars

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Students will build their solar vehicles. There are many options for them to do this, depending on the specific variables hoping to be tested following the construction and material-selection process. Students will be given the opportunity to try out multiple...
Energy Content:
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-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will construct a geared solar car, a pulley-system solar car, or both. Students will make verbal predictions about the outcomes and viabilities of different types of solar cars. Students will pinpoint the independent, dependent, and control variables in their solar car testing process.
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
Solar Car Race

Collect Data...Then Compare and Contrast

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students will race different iterations of solar cars: geared and pulley-system cars using varying gear ratios. Students will have the opportunity to make predictions, record data, and explain the results centered on the selection of these different variables...
Energy Content:
+
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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 solar car races.Explain the mechanics of gear ratios and demonstrate the most useful ratio to use when constructing solar cars.Explain the benefits of employing a pulley-system in their car construction. Students will understand the importance of selecting measurable, specific variables to compare in their data collection process in order to make evidence-based claims.
Author:
Carol Patrick
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour

Analyze Data and Draw Conclusions

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
Students have performed the investigation and will now analyze their data. They will accomplish this through a journaling activity that requires them to use the data collected from the actual races. The will refer to sentence frames in order to make...
Energy Content:
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will determine how differences between solar cars affected their functionality. Students will make claims based off of quantitative and qualitative data. Students will engage in scientific talk based off of their own observations when constructing and testing solar cars. Students will complete a journaling activity that outlines their processes relating to making conclusions.
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour