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

Keeping it Cool With Solar: Add Solar Panel Redesign, Rebuild, Retest

Grades:
K-2
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
This lesson is designed for one 60-minute session. Students will share and discuss results. Students are shown solar panel and fan and are asked, “Using solar technology, how might we make the ground in our structures even cooler?” Using the solar panel and...
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Keeping it Cool With Solar: Reflections of an Engineer

Grades:
K-2
Lesson Number:
7
Description:
This lesson is designed for one 30-minute session. Students analyze their data and reflect through video recording about how solar technology and their structures kept the ground (earth’s surface) cooler.
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will reflect on how their structure and solar technology changed the Sun’s effect on the Earth’s surface
Author:
Mark Lewin
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min
Solar Mini House

Mini Solar Houses Unit

Grades:
4-6
Description:
In Lesson 1, the lesson focuses on understanding how the angle and orientation affect the amount of energy that is generated through use of a solar cell. Paper azimuth finders, Keva Planks, and multimeters will be used in order for students to draw...
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Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will understand how to use an Azimuth finder to determine the direction and altitude that solar modules will face. 2. Students will learn how to describe why a solar module is pitched at a particular angle. 3. Students will understand how to measure the voltage and current for an electrical energy source. 4. Students will learn how to build a circuit that will light a light bulb with a switch and without a switch. 5. Students will understand that the electricity flows through a circuit from an energy source to a load. 6. Students will understand the difference between open and closed circuits. 7. Students will understand the similarities and differences between solar cells and batteries as an energy source. 8. Students will understand how electricity flows through a circuit (from energy sources to loads) with more than one source and more than one load. 9. Students will understand how to build series and parallel circuit and the characteristics of each. 10. Students will learn to power both a light and a fan. 11. Students will learn how to find a fault in a circuit. 12. Students will understand that the electricity flows through a circuit from an energy source to a load. 13. Students will understand the difference between open and closed circuits. 14. Students will identify the causes and solutions to various complications that arise in the construction of circuits. 15. Students will use the design process to create a roof to hold an adequate number of solar modules to power an LED and a fan. 16. Students will understand how to make a geometric net (a 2D drawing that when folded creates a 3D shape) for designing a roof.
Author:
Beverly Satterwhite
Estimated Activity Length:
8 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

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
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
 Foil Barge

What is Force?

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Students will build a barge out of tin foil and describe the forces acting it. The barge itself is designed only with the constraints that passengers within the barge will not get wet, allowing for students to experiment with different shapes and densities as...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will identify the Laws of Motion and learn about the forces acting on the system. There are multiple forces acting on a boat, some of these forces include, acceleration, friction, gravity and thrust.
Author:
Carol Patrick
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour

Solar Boat Science Investigation

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
Design a science investigation to test a solar speedboat, airboat, and surface submarine. Students will use the “Planning an Investigation Template” in order to determine their motivations for designing a solar boat, make predictions about the outcomes with...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will design an investigation to test three models of solar vehicles. Students will justify which materials will be used in their construction. Students will be able to support their design with reasoning. Students will determine different methods of collecting data from their experiment relating to three types of solar boats.
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min
Solar Boat Race

Collect Data and Compare Performance of Different Boat Designs

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
8
Description:
Students will race the solar speedboats, airboats, and surface submarines and then compare the performance results and of the various types of solar boats made by the class. Students will compare and contrast forces acting on the system by examining the...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will compare and contrast forces acting on the system by examining the results of the airboat, speedboat and surface submarine races. Students will collect quantitative and qualitative data points that denote the effectiveness of each boat design. Students will compare observations made during the race and draw conclusions from these observations.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Carol Patrick
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec