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

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...
+
-
More Details Less Details

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...
+
-
More Details Less Details
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
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...
+
-
More Details Less Details
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

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...
+
-
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:
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...
+
-
More Details Less Details
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
Car Charger Schematic

Designing a Solar Phone Charger

Grades:
7-12
Unit:
Lesson Number:
7
Description:
This is the culminating activity for the unit “Off the Grid.” Students will be given some restricted parameters around which to design a solar powered battery operated phone (or other USB device) charger . They will charge the AA battery packs that have been...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will be able to design a device that can charge a phone with 4 hours of sun a day. 2. Students will use collected data and be able to support their design – i.e. the data will show that the unit will produce enough energy to charge a phone given it receives 4 hours of sun a day. 3. Students will also be able to calculate efficiency from their power calculations. 4. Students will be able to compare efficiencies of their circuit to others tested in this unit. 5. Students can calculate how much energy 4 hours of sunlight can produce on the solar modules they will use.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Brett McFarland
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours

Solar Car Engineering Challenge Unit

Grades:
6-8
Description:
Students will build a solar car using instructions provided (Sol Run). They will take measurements of their car and then test to see how fast it can travel a 3m track. After students obtain their initial results they will research how to improve the car’s top...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
After the completion of this lesson students will be able to: • Describe how solar cars work • Accurately record and measure data • Use data to propose changes to experimental designs • Research a topic • Complete a full engineering assignment • Explain pros/cons of various prototypes • Work successfully within a group to accomplish a specific task • Brainstorm various ideas
Author:
Todd Freiboth
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
Solar Rooftop

Solar Pathfinder Tutorial

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
This lesson is designed to allow the students to practice assembling and using their Solar Pathfinders, along with analyzing the data. The students will take a single measurement and digital photograph at a location near the classroom designated by the...
Energy Content:
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to properly assemble and orient their solar pathfinder. Students will be able to properly record the information provided by a solar pathfinder. Students will be able to accurately analyze the information provided by the solar pathfinder to calculate the solar potential (kWh/m2/day) taking into account variables such as shading, climate and weather.
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
Solar Rooftop

Solar Site Assessment

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students will do an actual site assessment to determine the available solar resource for a chosen location.
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to use a Solar Pathfinder to determine the amount of solar resource lost to shading from nearby trees, buildings, etc. Students will be able to calculate the number of kWh of electricity that can be produced in a specific location and in a specific sized area. Students will be able to calculate the amount of carbon emissions that can be offset due to installing photovoltaic panels of various sizes. Students will be able to calculate the size array needed to offset all electricity use for the high school.
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Solar Charger Diagram

Replacing Fossil Fuels?

Grades:
10-12
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
As students begin to look at the role photovoltaics might play within the transportation energy sector, it is important for them to understand why the phasing-out of fossil fuels is such a daunting task. This lesson is designed to help students comprehend the...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will define energy density. 2. Students will compare energy densities among various transportation fuel options. 3. Students will compare costs per unit of energy among various transportation fuel options. 4. Students will compare energy return on energy invested among various transportation fuel options. 5. Students will assess which fuels have the most potential to replace fossil fuels in the transportation sector using a weighted matrix.
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour

Pages