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...
+
-
More Details Less Details
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 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...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Solar Thermal Jug

Passive Solar Water Heating

Grades:
6-12
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Students retrofit milk jugs to absorb and retain the most solar energy. This process involves students collecting data that measures the impacts of different variables on the solar energy absorbed by each collection device. Students should be able to see...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will cover/manipulate milk jugs to achieve the most solar energy absorption. 2. Students will calculate the joules of energy absorbed by the solar heated water. 3. Students will measure and graph the temperature changes of their solar milk jugs. 4. Students will gain an understanding of the amount of energy in sunlight.
Author:
Tami Church
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Compost Heater

Compost Bioreactor Design

Grades:
7-12
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Solar energy is available when the sun shines but energy can be supplemented at night by the release of energy during the composting of organic waste. In this activity, we will experiment with the feasibility of harnessing thermal energy to heat water with a...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will research the science of composting and proper maintenance methods to build their own bioreactor. 2. Students will research the proper composition of compost for maximum heat production. 3. Students will transfer the thermal energy in compost to a container of water heat water with by placing a vessel in the middle of the active compost/bioreactor.
Author:
Tami Church
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Wort Chiller

Bioreactor Water Circulation System

Grades:
7-12
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Solar energy is available when the sun shines but energy can be supplemented at night by the decomposition energy in a bioreactor. In this activity we will experiment with the feasibility of using heated water in a bioreactor to circulate it through a water...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will examine the properties of solar water pumping systems using KidWind solar water pumps or similar water pumps. 2. Students will experiment with the properties of water and its limitations in circulating due to pump power and distance. 3. Students will evaluate the use of a heat sink/chiller in the circulation of water through the bioreactor.
Author:
Tami Church
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours
Dye in Water

Developing a Model of Thermal Energy, Atoms, and Molecules

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Through a series of exploration and inquiry activities, students will explain kinetic molecular theory, atomic, and molecular structures. Students will be challenged to gradually increase the precision of their explanation of molecular-level structures and...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will develop a model through collaborative inquiry to explain thermal kinetic energy and predict the outcome when heat is added to a substance. Students will build argumentation from evidence skills through collaborative sense-making and gallery walk presentations. Students will develop a model of atomic and molecular structures.  
Author:
Melody Childers
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
9 hours
Fuel Inquiry Poster

Fuels and PV Cells

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Students will return to the phenomena of energy resources to support safety, health, and comfort in an emergency situation. They will distinguish between how common materials provide energy and develop an understanding of how the atomic and molecular...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students explore the conservation of mass in chemical reactions by observing and modeling combustion reactions and exploring the essential question/phenomena, “is all fire the same?” Students will use information resources and a 3D model of a PV cell to understand how solar modules generate electricity. “How do PV cells make electricity?”Students will construct circuits to explore PV modules and variables involved in powering devices. Students evaluate, revise, and justify the energy resources suggested on an emergency preparedness supply list. 
Author:
Melody Childers
Relevant NGSS PE:
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...
+
-
More Details Less Details
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
Earth Sun

Heat Transfer

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
7
Description:
Students will observe that heat naturally spreads from warmer places to cooler places and that some materials spread (conduct) heat and others keep it from spreading (insulate).
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will observe how some materials conduct heat and others insulate heat.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min
Wadsworth OH thumbnail

Let’s Get Cooking!

Grades:
4-5
Lesson Number:
10
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to provide students with a hands-on experience using the sun to cook cornbread or cookies. Students will also learn to use an infrared thermometer. There is also an optional extension for the class or individual students to...
+
-
More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
At the end of this lesson students will be able to: • Follow and prepare a recipe for cookies. • Learn to take and record oven temperature every 30 minutes using an infrared thermometer. • Evaluate the three ovens with a pros and cons list for each one after cooking. • Write one or two of their own questions. • Make suggestions for design changes.
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours

Pages