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

Cost Effective Solar Cells Unit Plan

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
Unit Plan
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
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
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...
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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
Basic Stamp Microprocessor

Measuring Voltage Using a Microcontroller

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
In this lesson students will be introduced to series circuits, resistors, a photoresistor and a microcontroller. There’s a lot here, but it boils down to making a voltage divider circuit and measuring the voltage at different points. A second circuit includes...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will apply Ohm’s Law. Students will use a multimeter to measure current, voltage, and resistance. Students will use a breadboard to set up a series circuit. Students will read circuit diagrams. Students will calculate times for an RC circuit to change state. Students will prove that resistors in series have an equivalent resistance equal to their individual sums. Students will program the Basic Stamp to measure voltage levels in a voltage divider and RC circuit.
Author:
Pat Blount
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Basic Stamp Microprocessor

Controlling a Servo

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
In this lesson students will learn how to control a servo using the Basic Stamp. Then students will combine the photoresistor from the previous lesson with the servo to create a light controlled servo.
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to apply the pulse width modulation to a servo from a Basic Stamp. Students will synthesize two circuit designs using one to control the other through the Basic Stamp.
Author:
Pat Blount
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Basic Stamp Microprocessor

Creating a Light-Tracking Servo

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Students will learn how to program the Basic Stamp to use information from two photoresistors to point a servo at a light source. This will be the first degree of freedom for the flower head.
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will synthesize the previous lesson for light metering and servo control to design a servo controlled by two photoresistors that will track a light source.
Author:
Pat Blount
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Basic Stamp Microprocessor

Dual Axis Light Tracking

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students will take the previous lesson and apply them in creating a light tracker with two degrees of freedom. The axis of rotation will be about the horizontal and vertical. Teams will have everything they need to make this build work. They have already...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will create a solar tracker with two degrees of freedom.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Pat Blount
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Basic Stamp Microprocessor

Integrating Solar Power

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
At this point students should have a working robotic sunflower that will track the sun with 2 degrees of freedom. This next lesson powers the whole system with a photovoltaic module. A Zener diode is used to charge a 6V motorcycle battery which then supplies...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will create voltage regulator and construct a solar battery charger.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Pat Blount
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Lead Acid Battery

Solar Battery Charging

Grades:
7-12
Description:
Students will become familiar with circuits, cells, batteries, and photovoltaic cells, then plan, build, test, modify, and re-test a small solar battery charger designed to maintain batteries from a particular device.
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will build series, parallel, and parallel series circuits from a schematic diagram. Students will master the basic concept of battery charging. Students will be able to plan and build solar battery chargers for a given battery system. Intermediate students will calculate time to charge a depleted battery to its full capacity given specifications of a solar module. Students will be able to explain how a solar cell works with diagrams and words. Students will use a digital multi-meter to measure voltage, current, resistance, and diode polarity.
Author:
Luke Robbins
Estimated Activity Length:
9 hours
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.
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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

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