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

Solar Rooftop

Macro-Scale Solar

Grades:
9-12
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
This lesson begins with basic chemistry with regards to atomic structure. The lesson then moves to understanding the special properties of silicon as a photoelectric semi- conductor. Building on this, the basic structure of photovoltaic solar cells is...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to describe the basic structure of a photovoltaic solar module implementing the ideas of series and parallel wiring. Students will be able to describe the basic structure of a photovoltaic solar array implementing the ideas of series and parallel wiring. Students will be able to describe the function and necessity of an inverter when using photovoltaic arrays.
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
Sphero SPRK+

Solar SPRK+ Unit Overview

Grades:
6-8
Unit:
Description:
This unit incorporates basic programming knowledge and solar energy into an engineering design challenge using Sphero SPRK+ robots. The theme for this challenge centers on the idea of Mars rovers, and the challenges faced in space exploration, specifically...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will develop tools to use in the Engineering Design Process.Students will learn drag and drop programming with Sphero Edu (formerly Lightning Lab).Students will determine how series and parallel circuits affect voltage and current.Students will understand how to use photovoltaic sources to charge a SPRK+.Students will design a chariot to carry a photovoltaic power source for a SPRK+.Students will learn to program a SPRK+ ball and chariot through a maze.
Author:
Deb Frankel
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Sphero SPRK+

Solar SPRK+ Electricity Fundamentals and Photovoltaics

Grades:
6-8
Unit:
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students work through a number of solar circuit explorations that culminate in a challenge to charge the Sphero SPRK+ devices with solar panels. In this exploration, students will investigate the requirements of various loads, working toward the voltage and...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will determine how to create various types of circuits in order to power loads with different electric needs.Students will identify the electric needs of a Sphero charger and build a circuit needed to charge this device.
Author:
Deb Frankel
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Sphero SPRK+

Solar SPRK+: Chariot Engineering Design

Grades:
6-8
Unit:
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
Students will work through the engineering design process to build a chariot for their SPRK+ that will carry their solar panels through a maze to a charging station. Students will draft prototypes, test their designs, and make changes to their design based on...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will identify possible design solutions to have a Sphero SPRK+ pull solar panels as a portable power source.Students will work in groups to determine the best possible designs and construct and test these designs with their team.Students will determine the strengths and weaknesses of each design and incorporate these findings into further construction phases.
Author:
Deb Frankel
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Sphero SPRK+

Solar SPRK+: Final Challenge and Presentation

Grades:
6-8
Unit:
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
In this lesson, students will navigate through a maze using their SPRK+ in order to reach the solar charging station. Students will redesign their chariot in order to meet the needs of this new maze in order to carry their solar panels to the charging station...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will combine SPRK+ programming with the construction of a compatible chariot in order to guide their SPRK+ “Mars rover” to carry solar panels to a charging station.Students will present a final project to the class that summarizes their knowledge about the scientific background knowledge tied to this project as well as their design and testing process.
Author:
Deb Frankel
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
8 hours
Solar Charger Diagram

Can Portable PV Charge Vehicles?

Grades:
10-12
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
In this lesson, students will begin to explore the potential and challenges related to using photovoltaics to supplement the power needed to charge batteries in BEVs. Students will test a variety of wiring options related to series and parallel wiring. Once...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will explore the role of series and parallel wiring as they pertain to voltage and amperage.Students will explore the processes involved with charging batteries and relate these processes to voltage and amperage.Students will test photovoltaic modules to identify voltage and amperage outputs.Students will calculate, using data from field tests, the maximum power that can be produced using photovoltaics within the constraints of a typical passenger vehicle’s surface area.Students will calculate charging times using various PV array power ratings.
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Solar Charger Diagram

Designing a Solar Charger

Grades:
10-12
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
In this lesson, students will further explore the potential and challenges related to using photovoltaics to supplement the power needed to charge batteries in BEVs. Students will be provided with a 12 V lead-acid battery and several 3 V, 1.5 A solar modules...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
1. Students will explore the role of series and parallel wiring as they pertain to voltage and amperage. 2. Students will explore the processes involved with charging batteries and relate these processes to voltage and amperage. 3. Students will test photovoltaic modules to identify voltage and amperage outputs. 4. Students will design a system of wiring 3 V, 1.5 A modules together as a means to charge a 12 V lead-acid battery 5. Students will predict and test the effectiveness of their designed solar charger.
Author:
Clayton Hudiburg
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours
Simple Circuit

Introduction to Circuits

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
This lesson begins with students having hands-on experiences creating electrical circuits using a battery, wires, and a light bulb. Students will learn that electricity is the flow of electrons, and how electricity moves within a circuit.
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
By the end of these two lessons students should be able to: 1. Create a simple circuit on their own when given the appropriate materials. 2. Diagram the flow of electrons within a circuit. 3. Differentiate between series and parallel circuits.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Craig Marais
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Solar Circuit

Variables Affecting Solar Power

Grades:
7-8
Lesson Number:
6
Description:
Students will plan and condict an investigation into solar photovoltaic technologies to determine what variables affect the output of panels. They will calculate and compare their exploration of solar panels to their previous investigation of wind turbines in...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
• Students will be able to identify and explain at least three variables that effect the efficiency of photovoltaic cells • Students will conduct a scientific investigation to determine which photovoltaic cell configuration will generate the most power.
Author:
Craig Marais
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Solar Circuit

A Simple Circuit

Grades:
2-5
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students make a hypothesis about how a set of materials should be connected in order to make a motor spin. Through guided trial and error students are led to the idea of a circuit as the proper way to connect the materials in order to make the fan turn.
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to draw a simple circuit, label its parts, and show the direction/path that current is flowing.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Mike Hellis
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
50 min