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

Introducing Power Production and Impacts of Climate Change

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
In the first part of this activity, students participate in a role play activity – understanding the needs of different people living and working around the world. Each character express their unique perspective on climate change and impacts to their...
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Explore the causes and effects of climate change as related to energy production.2. Develop a working understanding of varying stakeholder perspectives on the causes and effects of climate change. 
Author:
Bradford Hill
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
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
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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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
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

Our Sensational Sun

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to record information that the students learn about the sun on a chart. This chart will be used for the entire unit. It will serve as a good reference for guiding the lessons and providing information for student research.
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
At the end of this lesson, students will have written numerous facts about the sun that they 1) already know, 2) want to know and 3) have learned.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min
Earth Sun

Saving Lives with Solar Ovens

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students will be introduced to Solar Cookers International. Students will learn about different solar cooker designs and how they function. Students will learn the pros and cons on the use of solar ovens in developing countries. Students will gain an...
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will learn about different solar cooker designs and how they function. Students will learn the customs, jobs, food and clothing of people in different countries of Africa.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min

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: Solar Energy Equity and Sustainability

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
This lesson is designed to span 2 days with 40-minute sections. On the introduction day, three solar power articles will be read to set up a Socratic Seminar dialogue on Day 2. A teacher will need to read the articles. The articles investigate the pros and...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will read at least three articles discussing solar power generation, and the social, cultural, and economic implications of sustainable solar energyStudents will discuss social, cultural, and economic implications of sustainable solar energy in a Socratic Seminar format.
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours

Cost Effective Solar Cells: Solar Panel Basics

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
This lesson is designed to be completed in one 40-minute section. Students will have already learned the concepts of basic circuits, including voltage, current, power, parallel and serial circuits. Teachers will then explain the basic concept of solar cells,...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will review circuitry basics and solar cell layersStudents will model N-layers, P-layers, and the N-P junction in a physical circuit activity
Author:
Tom Wolverton
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour

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