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

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...
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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

Activities and Assessment of Vocab and Units

Grades:
7-12
Unit:
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
This lesson is intended as a way to check for student understanding regarding the content presented in the previous lesson of this unit. The assessment takes place in two parts: a written assessment of content-related vocabulary and concepts as well as a...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to define voltage, current, power and energy as it relates to electricity.Students will be able to define electricity and have the units for all the above terms in their Journals.Students will be able to set up multimeters for voltage and current and will be assessed on this.
Author:
Brett McFarland
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 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...
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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
Car Charger Schematic

Exploring Buck and Boost Converters

Grades:
7-12
Unit:
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
This lab uses a variety of voltage conversion devices to output 5 Volts, the requirements for a USB charger such as for a cell phone. Students will take data on these devices and calculate, graph and compare efficiencies of different devices. Devices used in...
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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:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
Car Charger Schematic

DC to AC to DC Efficiency

Grades:
7-12
Unit:
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
This is part of the Off the Grid Unit. This lesson will continue to deal with efficiency of USB charging devices, but this time we will be using an inverter in order to create AC voltage from a battery pack, and then use a standard AC charger (what you would...
Energy Content:
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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. 6. Students will know what an inverter is and what it does.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Brett McFarland
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 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...
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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...
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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
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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More Details Less Details
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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More Details Less Details
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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More Details Less Details
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

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