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

Scaling up to Power Production: Let’s Engineer a Wind Turbine

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
After working through Lessons 1 and 2 of this Unit, students are now familiar with the physics of how generators work. The next step in Lesson 3 is to investigate how existing power generation systems operate and supply electricity to entire geographic...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Design, build, and refine a wind turbine in order to effectively and efficiently convert motion into mechanical energy and then into electrical energy 
Author:
Bradford Hill
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours
Design a 50 Year Energy Plan

Scaling up to Power Production Let’s use Data to Optimize the Performance of a Solar Cell Array

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Somewhat similar to the first part of the wind turbine project from Lesson 3, students are tasked with optimizing the performance of a photovoltaic system. This objective both allows students to apply the engineering-design process they absorbed in previous...
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Design a 50 Year Energy Plan

What is Our Plan?

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
With all the pieces in place, this Unit’s final lesson asks students to code a spreadsheet that calculates and mathematically predicts the environmental impacts of different energy sources and strategies over a 50 year timespan. Divided into five different...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students utilize their knowledge of energy’s impact on global systems as well as the process of energy generation in order to inform their development of a 50-year Energy Plan divided into decades. 
Author:
Bradford Hill
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours
Hot Pack

Unit Plan - Chemical Differences in Emergency Energy Sources

Grades:
7-8
Description:
Students develop atomic and molecular models of energy resources, analyze combustion of various fuels and build circuits with Photovolatic (PV) modules to evaluate and suggest revisions to a disaster preparedness supply list. They then research and evaluate...
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Learning Goal(s):
To build empathy for people in emergency situations and an understanding of how access to energy resources can increase one’s safety, health, and comfort. To understand the nature of a variety of energy needs and how different applications have different optimal solutions. To develop models to explain the molecular and extended structures of energy resources, including how the resources change when energy is generated (Electron movement in PV cells, combustion reactions in fuel). To understand that the properties of substances depends upon the atomic / molecular structure, which changes with chemical reactions. To build a circuit that includes a solar module and measure the voltage and current. To gather and evaluate information to describe the impact on society of converting natural resources into PV cells. To design, build and test a device that uses a chemical reaction to generate or absorb thermal energy. Evaluate and revise a plan for the energy resources one should store to prepare for a natural disaster. 
Author:
Melody Childers
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Hot Pack

Engineering a Hot Pack

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
Through a series of inquiry activities, students will discover the properties of the chemical reaction of dissolving CaCl 2 in water, the effect of stirring, and of adding baking soda and sodium polyacrylate crystals. Once initial data is collected, students...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will collect data to characterize a chemical reaction Students will identify the criteria and constraints of an engineering challenge. Students will design and build a hot pack that meets the criteria of the project. Students will collect data to support their proposed design. 
Author:
Melody Childers
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours
Simple Solar Water Heater

Making the Standard Solar Heater

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
In part one of the activity students will be asked to create a simple solar heater, measure the temperature change in a vial of water, then calculate the heat energy transferred to a vial of water. Students will construct the solar heater, place a set amount...
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Learning Goal(s):
In this activity students will learn that sunlight energy can be transformed into other forms of energy and that the amount of sunlight energy captured by an object can be quantified and measured.
Author:
Nathan Franck
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour

Manipulating Design Variables on Solar Heaters

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Part 2 builds on part 1, asking students to design a solar heater that more effectively collects solar energy. Students are provided with various building supplies and are asked to change one variable from the standard to construct a new, more effective solar...
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Creating the Most Effective Solar Heater

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
This part can be staged as a competition or simply a personal challenge to beat the standard solar heater created in part 1. During this stage of the lesson students are asked to analyze data and results from part 2 and identify which characteristics of a...
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Learning Goal(s):
In this activity students demonstrate the ability to evaluate competing solutions to the problem of increasing the heat energy transferred to a vial of water.
Author:
Nathan Franck
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
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

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