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

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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More Details Less Details
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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More Details Less Details
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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More Details Less Details
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
Energy Transformations

What is Energy?

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
Students will gain an understanding of the fundamentals of energy through observing a variety of energy transformations and develop a foundational vocabulary for identifying and discussing energy concepts. Students will make observations about how energy is...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will obtain the foundational knowledge of energy sources and forms of energy. In addition, students will learn that energy can transfer from one form to another. Students will build the understanding that there are different types of energy and many can not be directly observed.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Energy Transformations

What is Energy Transfer?

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
Students will continue to build an understanding of the fundamentals of energy through observing and describing a variety of energy transformations and build on their foundational vocabulary for identifying and discussing energy concepts. In this stage of the...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will obtain the foundational knowledge of energy sources and forms of energy. In addition, students will learn that energy can transfer from one form to another. Students will be able to match images of energy transformations to their respected vocabulary.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 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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More Details Less Details
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
2-Volt, 500mA Solar Modules

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
4
Description:
Students will learn the basics of how a solar cell generates electricity and observe the effects on a small electrical load attached to a solar module under a variety of conditions. They will build upon knowledge gained in previous lessons dealing with energy...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will be able to describe, in basic terms, the way that electricity is generated from a solar cell. Students will be able to determine that energy from the sun is being converted directly into electricity. Students will understand that this electrical energy that is produced in this energy transfer is able to perform the work required within a small load.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Sunlight Incident Angle

How to Measure Output of Solar Modules

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
5
Description:
Students will measure output from solar module before a load is attached and relate it to real world output. They will make these measurements using a multimeter and be able to determine the optimal angle at which their module generates a current flow. This...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will demonstrate that solar modules create electricity when light strikes the module. Students will determine the optimum angle for the generation of current by a solar cell when given a light source (indoors or outdoors using the sun). Students will be able to effectively use a digital multimeter to measure current and voltage produced by a solar cell.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
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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More Details Less Details
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

Building Solar Boats

Grades:
4-6
Unit:
Lesson Number:
7
Description:
Students will follow step-by-step instructions to build their solar boats. They will troubleshoot as necessary by making sure electricity flows into the motor to make the vehicles move by propeller or gears. They will be using their planned investigations...
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More Details Less Details
Learning Goal(s):
Students will follow step-by-step instructions to build their solar boats. They will troubleshoot as necessary by making sure electricity flows into the motor to make the vehicles move by propeller or gears. Students will determine different data points that are useful in the determining the most effective design for a solar powered boat. Students will undergo the process of redesign, noting why they made changes to particular variables on their boat and noting how these changes played out.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Carol Patrick
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour