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

Car Charger Schematic

Electrical Energy and Solar Module Efficiency

Grades:
7-12
Unit:
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
This lesson will let students do research to define terms that will be used in this unit. They will record this information in their Journals, which can be scientific or simple homemade notebooks. This lesson will also introduce the multimeter, small solar...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will document necessary terms in their journals 2. Students will be able to set up a multimeter to measure voltage 3. Students will be able to set up a multimeter to measure current 4. Students will be able to calculate power from data collected 5. Students should be able to measure the collector area of a solar module (area of solar cell(s) within solar module) and represent this value in square meters (m^2)
Author:
Brett McFarland
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours
Car Charger Schematic

Activities and Assessment of Vocab and Units

Grades:
7-12
Unit:
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
This lesson is intended as a way to check for student understanding regarding the content presented in the previous lesson of this unit. The assessment takes place in two parts: a written assessment of content-related vocabulary and concepts as well as a...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to define voltage, current, power and energy as it relates to electricity.Students will be able to define electricity and have the units for all the above terms in their Journals.Students will be able to set up multimeters for voltage and current and will be assessed on this.
Author:
Brett McFarland
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
BioLite

Biolite - Fire to Phone Charging

Grades:
7-12
Unit:
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
This is the 6 th part in the Off the Grid Unit. This lesson continues to look at the efficiency of USB charging devices, but this time we will be using a commercially available camping stove that uses heat to create electricity in order to charge a phone...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will use thermometers and a stopwatch to calculate power. 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 to other circuits tested in this unit. 5. Students will know what the Peltier Junction does.
Author:
Brett McFarland
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Solar Mobile

Solar Mobile Design Challenge Unit Plan

Grades:
6-8
Description:
This unit involves students learning about transferring solar energy to small motors, exploring the center of gravity and testing light sources (including the sun). The culminating engineering design project gives students the chance to pull together their...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will design circuits using various solar panels in order to power motors with propellers. Students will learn about solar energy transfer in order to power the motors on their solar aircraft.Students will research an aircraft and draw an outline of the aircraft onto foam board. Students will explore the concept of center of gravity. Students will test the efficiency of various light sources (incandescent, fluorescent, LED, halogen) for usage by a PV cell.Students will use their prior testing results and knowledge to engineer a solar-powered mobile. Students will work to transfer the most energy from the solar panels considering all the tested variables in order to power the fastest, most efficient mobile.Students will demonstrate and explain why their solar mobile should be chosen for the solar mobile display in the children’s museum. 
Author:
Kristy Schneider
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Kill-A-Watt_Meter

Energy Efficiency - Lighting

Grades:
4-5
Unit:
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
In this lesson, students will learn how to read light bulb packaging (lighting facts) and do a whole class experiment comparing a 60-watt incandescent to an equivalent CFL and an LED bulb. This experiment will be conducted using a kil-o-watt meter, engaging...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand what energy efficiency means, and learn how to choose energy efficient light bulbs. Students will determine which lightbulbs are the most efficient. Students will understand how energy efficiency relates to energy generation and climate change.
Author:
Debbie Abel
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
Kill-A-Watt_Meter

How much energy do YOU use?

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Students will learn the difference between energy and power. They will then use this new understanding to compare the energy and power difference of light bulbs (incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, and LED) using a tool called a “Kill-A-Watt” meter. Students...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to: • Explain the difference between power and energy • Proficiently use a “Kill-A-Watt” meter to determine the power and total energy usage of everyday devices • Compare the total energy used by common household devices • Brainstorm different ways we can conserve electrical energy
Author:
Craig Marais
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Kill-a-Watt Meter

Home Energy Use

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
This lesson is meant to provide students the opportunity to learn about the power usage of items in their home that they are already curious about. Students will learn to use a Watt meter to measure the amount of electricity various electric appliances in...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will make observations and record about the amount of energy used by various appliances in their home. Students will make conclusions about which items in their home are generating the most energy. Students will make conclusions about methods in which they can reduce the energy used in their homes.
Author:
Eric Gronseth
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
Kill-a-Watt Meter

Home Energy Consumption

Grades:
6-8
Description:
Students will calculate the energy consumption of a set of common household devices based on their operating power rating and then investigate the power consumption of other devices in their homes.
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will understand power and energy as they relate to their electricity use. Students will be able to calculate energy consumption and the associated costs. Students will investigate ways they could reduce their own energy consumption
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Deb Frankel
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour