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

Design a 50 Year Energy Plan

50 Year Energy Plan - Unit Plan

Grades:
9-12
Description:
Throughout this creative, hands-on Unit, students are challenged to scale up every Disciplinary Core Idea and Science & Engineering Practice they’ve learned - from simple electricity generation, to building their own stereo speakers and DIY electric...
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Learning Goal(s):
Explore causes and effects of climate change as related to energy production. Develop a working understanding of varying stakeholder perspectives on the causes and effects of climate change. Through hands-on exploration, build a working speaker that can connect to a cellphone. Use DIY speakers as a model to observe the process of producing electrical currents with a simple generator. Design, build and refine a wind turbine to efficiently convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. Design, build and refine a system that is the most effective at converting the sunlight into electrical energy. Students develop models to study the relationship between the Earth’s atmospheric composition and the Earth’s surface temperatures using simple diagrams. Students reflect on the impact of energy sources and power production on the environment. Students utilize their knowledge of how energy generation processes impacts the environment to inform how and why they develop a 50-year Energy Plan for their local community. 
Author:
Bradford Hill
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Design a 50 Year Energy Plan

Diving into the Physics of Motors and Generators

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Using energy analysis and some tinkering students hand wind speakers to play music from a phone. This acts as a phenomenon to engage students in the exploration of electromagnetism. At this point, they have created a motor, which utilizes electric current to...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Through hands-on exploration, create a working speaker for a cellphone. 2. Use the creation of a speaker to observe as a model for the process of generating electrical current in a simple generator/motor. 
Author:
Bradford Hill
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours

Cost Effective Solar Cells Unit Plan

Grades:
9-12
Description:
Through a series of solar panel and solar cell construction activities, students will learn the basic principles of energy conversion from light energy to chemical & electrical energy. Students will assemble and test pre-constructed solar panels to gain a...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will discuss social, cultural, and economic implications of sustainable solar energy.Students will construct and test solar panel arrays to power LED lights, fan motors, and music playersStudents will review circuitry basics and solar cell layersStudents will analyze and share out power generation results with classmatesStudents will construct and test an oxidized copper sheet solar cellStudents will share and analyze oxidized copper sheet solar cell dataStudents will construct and test titanium dioxide coated “raspberry juice” solar cellsStudents will collect and analyze titanium dioxide coated “raspberry juice” solar cell data.Students will discuss results and draw conclusions about variables that may affect power generationStudents will visit a solar cell or silicon manufacturing facility and/or engage with guest speakers. Students will learn more detailed solar cell principles and manufacturing techniques involved in solar cell constructionStudents will research chemicals, materials and procedures for their own solar cell designsStudents will build and present models of their proposed solar cellsStudents will construct and test unique solar cellsStudents will present construction progress and project obstaclesStudents will format solar cell data, draw conclusions, and construct an engineering report as a research poster
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours

Cost Effective Solar Cells: Construction Progress and Obstacles

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
13
Description:
This lesson is designed to be completed in one 80-minute section. The teacher will facilitate 3-4 groups as they share their construction progress and obstacles. Students will share individual results in a fishbowl setting and will participate in providing...
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Cost Effective Solar Cells: Unique Solar Cell Engineering Report

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
14
Description:
This lesson is designed to be completed in three 80-minute sections. The teacher will have students write their engineering reports with the following sections: Introduction (taken from Lesson #10), Design (incorporating the model from Lesson #10), Methods,...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will format solar cell data into tables and graphsStudents will draw conclusions based on testing dataStudents will construct an engineering report in a research poster format
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours
Arduino Angler Design

Illuminate Me: Merging Conductive Sewing, Technology, and Solar Power

Grades:
7-12
Description:
Light up your clothing using solar power! For this unit, students will attach thin, flexible solar modules to a bike helmet and recharge NiMH rechargeable batteries for a renewable energy battery pack. The rechargeable batteries will be used to light up...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will design and sew a wearable circuit using conductive thread. 2. Students will program a wearable microcontroller to light up garment with bright LEDs. 3. Students will incorporate solar power into a wearable garment project by recharging NiMH batteries for a renewable energy battery pack. 4. Students will apply knowledge of circuitry and energy transfer to maximize design.
Author:
Kristy Schneider
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Car Charger Schematic

Phone Charger Efficiency

Grades:
7-12
Unit:
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
This is part of the Off the Grid Unit. In this lesson students will explore the concept of efficiency , and how to take data in order to calculate the efficiency of various cell phone or USB charging circuits. They will complete this process by using a...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will use multimeters to measure voltage and current in circuits. 2. Students will use collected data and be able to make power calculations from this data. 3. Students will also be able to calculate efficiency from their power calculations. 4. Students will be able to compare efficiencies in order to identify the circuit that is most efficient. 5. Students will be able to make circuits from a diagram and vice versa.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Brett McFarland
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Car Charger Schematic

Exploring Buck and Boost Converters

Grades:
7-12
Unit:
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
This lab uses a variety of voltage conversion devices to output 5 Volts, the requirements for a USB charger such as for a cell phone. Students will take data on these devices and calculate, graph and compare efficiencies of different devices. Devices used in...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will use multimeters to measure voltage and current in circuits. 2. Students will use collected data and be able to make power calculations from this data. 3. Students will also be able to calculate efficiency from their power calculations. 4. Students will be able to compare efficiencies in order to identify the circuit that is most efficient. 5. Students will be able to make circuits from a diagram and vice versa.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Brett McFarland
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
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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More Details Less Details
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

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