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

Sun in Space

Our Place in Space: Tracking the Earth's Path Around the Sun

Grades:
1-3
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
During sessions in October, January, and April we will discuss observations about the weather during that season (temperature, length of day, precipitation) and explore how this relates to the Earth’s movement around the Sun. The lesson series will start with...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able describe how the Earth orbits the Sun and how the tilt of the planet creates the seasons by recording the ‘Sun’s path’ in our sky in the fall, winter, and spring.
Author:
Jamie Repasky
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
6 hours
Solar Circuit

How the Amount of Light Affects a Solar Cell

Grades:
6-8
Unit:
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Students will cover portions of a solar cell and measure the output with a multimeter. They will compare and contrast the outputs of different percentages shaded and different configurations using the same percentage shaded.
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Author:
Todd Freiboth
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
Solar Circuit

How Light Intensity Affects Solar Cell Output

Grades:
6-8
Unit:
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Students will expose solar cells to a light source from different distances and measure the output with a multimeter. They will compare and contrast the outputs that the different distances produce.
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Learning Goal(s):
After the completion of this lab, students will be able to describe how the light intensity affects solar cell output, have practiced using a multimeter, and have analyzed collected data.
Author:
Todd Freiboth
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
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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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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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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More Details Less Details
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