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

Dye in Water

Developing a Model of Thermal Energy, Atoms, and Molecules

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Through a series of exploration and inquiry activities, students will explain kinetic molecular theory, atomic, and molecular structures. Students will be challenged to gradually increase the precision of their explanation of molecular-level structures and...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will develop a model through collaborative inquiry to explain thermal kinetic energy and predict the outcome when heat is added to a substance. Students will build argumentation from evidence skills through collaborative sense-making and gallery walk presentations. Students will develop a model of atomic and molecular structures.  
Author:
Melody Childers
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
9 hours
Solar Cell Manufacture

Research and Evaluate the Impact on the Environment and Society of Converting Natural Resources into PV Cells

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students will engage in guided research to explore resource acquisition, material processing, and electricity generation associated with photovoltaic cells. Opportunity for differentiation exists in the level of assistance in guiding the research, the...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will evaluate information to describe the impact on society from resource extraction and materials-processing for PV cells.2. Students will communicate their understandings of different impacts from converting natural resources into PV cells through participation in a Socratic Seminar. 
Author:
Melody Childers
Estimated Activity Length:
6 hours
Earth Sun

Individual Independent Projects

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
12
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to allow students to choose an area of interest regarding solar power and research it further in a manner of their choice. Students will produce a final product to display or share at the “Salute to the Sun” culminating event at...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will plan, gather research materials and create a project of their choice. In doing so student will learn proper research methods (i.e., reliable sources) and how to categorize and translate information. In addition students will become comfortable and familiar presenting information to others. Lastly, students will also learn how to create a rubric for self evaluation.
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours

Cost Effective Solar Cells: Copper Oxide Cell Data Sharing

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
This lesson is designed to be completed in one 40-minute section. The teacher will facilitate the sharing of student solar cell data from indoor and outdoor testing through a gallery walk session. Variables such as lighting, photovoltaic effect, copper...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will share and analyze oxidized copper sheet solar cell data
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour

Cost Effective Solar Cells: Titanium Dioxide Solar Cell Construction and Testing

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
7
Description:
This lesson is designed to be completed in two 80-minute sections. The teacher will show a basic procedure and video. The teacher will facilitate the construction of Organic Dye-Sensitized solar cells on coated glass plates with Titanium Dioxide. A fume hood...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will construct titanium dioxide coated “raspberry juice” solar cellsStudents will test titanium dioxide coated “raspberry juice” solar cells under various conditions 
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 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

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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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

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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