To see descriptions of all available curriculum by grade, 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
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
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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More Details Less Details
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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More Details Less Details
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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More Details Less Details
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

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