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Concentrated Solar Power
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Students learn how the total solar irradiance hitting a photovoltaic (PV) panel ...

Students learn how the total solar irradiance hitting a photovoltaic (PV) panel can be increased through the use of a concentrating device, such as a reflector or lens. This is the final lesson in the Photovoltaic Efficiency unit and is intended to accompany a fun design project (see the associated Concentrating on the Sun with PVs activity) to wrap up the unit. However, it can be completed independently of the other unit lessons and activities.

Subject:
Engineering
Electronic Technology
Material Type:
Instructional Material
Lesson Plans
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,
William Surles, Abigail Watrous, Jack Baum, Stephen Johnson (This high school curriculum was originally created as a class project by engineering students in a Building Systems Program course at CU-Boulder.)
Concentrating on the Sun with PVs
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Students design, build and test reflectors to measure the effect of solar ...

Students design, build and test reflectors to measure the effect of solar reflectance on the efficiency of solar PV panels. They use a small PV panel, a multimeter, cardboard and foil to build and test their reflectors in preparation for a class competition. Then they graph and discuss their results with the class. Complete this activity as part of the Photovoltaic Efficiency unit and in conjunction with the Concentrated Solar Power lesson.

Subject:
Engineering
Electronic Technology
Material Type:
Activities and Labs
Instructional Material
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,
William Surles, Abigail Watrous, Malinda Schaefer Zarske, Jack Baum, Stephen Johnson (This high school curriculum was originally created as a class project by engineering students in a Building Systems Program course at CU-Boulder.)
Energy Resources and Systems
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Several activities are included to teach and research the differences between renewable ...

Several activities are included to teach and research the differences between renewable and non-renewable resources and various energy resources. The students work with a quantitative, but simple model of energy resources to show how rapidly a finite, non-renewable energy sources can be depleted, whereas renewable resources continue to be available. The students then complete a homework assignment or a longer, in-depth research project to learn about how various technologies that capture energy resources for human uses and their pros and cons. Fact sheets are included to help students get started on their investigation of their assigned energy source.

Subject:
Engineering
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Activities and Labs
Instructional Material
Lesson Plans
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Office of Educational Partnerships,
Susan Powers, Jan DeWaters, and a number of Clarkson and St. Lawrence students in the K-12 Project Based Learning Partnership Program
Energy Sources Research
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Fact sheets are provided for several different energy resources as a starting ...

Fact sheets are provided for several different energy resources as a starting point for students to conduct literature research on the way these systems work and their various pros and cons. Students complete a worksheet for homework or take in-class time for research and presentation of their findings to the class. This approach requires students to learn for themselves and teach each other, rather than having the teacher lecture about the subject matter.

Subject:
Engineering
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Activities and Labs
Instructional Material
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Office of Educational Partnerships,
Susan Powers, Jan DeWaters, and a number of Clarkson and St. Lawrence University students in the K-12 Project Based Learning Partnership Program
Energy Systems
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Posters are provided for several different energy conversion systems. Students are provided ...

Posters are provided for several different energy conversion systems. Students are provided with cards that give the name and a description of each of the components in an energy system. They match these with the figures on the diagram. Since the groups look at different systems, they also describe their results to the class to share their knowledge.

Subject:
Engineering
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Activities and Labs
Instructional Material
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Office of Educational Partnerships,
Susan Powers, Jan DeWaters, and a number of Clarkson and St. Lawrence University students in the K-12 Project Based Learning Partnership Program
Generators: Three Mile Island vs. Hoover Dam
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Students are given a history of electricity and its development into the ...

Students are given a history of electricity and its development into the modern age lifeline upon which we so depend. The methods of power generation are introduced, and further discussion of each technology's pros and cons follows.

Subject:
Engineering
Electronic Technology
Material Type:
Activities and Labs
Instructional Material
Lesson Plans
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Brandon Jones
Techtronics Program,
Ice, Ice, PV!
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Students examine how the power output of a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel ...

Students examine how the power output of a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel is affected by temperature changes. Using a 100-watt lamp and a small PV panel connected to a digital multimeter, teams vary the temperature of the panel and record the resulting voltage output. They plot the panel's power output and calculate the panel's temperature coefficient.

Subject:
Engineering
Electronic Technology
Material Type:
Activities and Labs
Instructional Material
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,
William Surles, Jack Baum Abby Watrous, Stephen Johnson, Eszter Horanyi, Malinda Schaefer Zarske (This high school curriculum was originally created as a class project by engineering students in a Building Systems Program course at CU-Boulder.)
Maximum Power Point
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Students learn how to find the maximum power point (MPP) of a ...

Students learn how to find the maximum power point (MPP) of a photovoltaic (PV) panel in order to optimize its efficiency at creating solar power. They also learn about real-world applications and technologies that use this technique, as well as Ohm's law and the power equation, which govern a PV panel's ability to produce power.

Subject:
Engineering
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Instructional Material
Lesson Plans
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,
Jack Baum, Stephen Johnson, William Surles, Abby Watrous, Malinda Schaefer Zarske (This high school curriculum was originally created as a class project by engineering students in a Building Systems Program course at CU-Boulder.)
A New Angle on PV Efficiency
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Students examine how the orientation of a photovoltaic (PV) panel relative to ...

Students examine how the orientation of a photovoltaic (PV) panel relative to the sun affects the efficiency of the panel. Using sunshine (or a lamp) and a small PV panel connected to a digital multimeter, students vary the angle of the solar panel, record the resulting current output on a worksheet, and plot their experimental results.

Subject:
Engineering
Electronic Technology
Material Type:
Activities and Labs
Instructional Material
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,
William Surles, Jack Baum, Stephen Johnson, Abby Watrous, Eszter Horanyi, Malinda Schaefer Zarske (This high school curriculum was originally created as a class project by engineering students in a Building Systems Program course at CU-Boulder.)
Organic Solar Energy and Berries
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Students learn about how a device made with dye from a plant, ...

Students learn about how a device made with dye from a plant, specifically cherries, blackberries, raspberries and/or black currents, can be used to convert light energy into electrical energy. They do this by building their own organic solar cells and measuring the photovoltaic devices' performance based on power output.

Subject:
Engineering
Electronic Technology
Material Type:
Activities and Labs
Instructional Material
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Crystal Young
National Science Foundation GK-12 and Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Programs,
Photovoltaic Efficiency
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Through a series of four lessons, students are introduced to many factors ...

Through a series of four lessons, students are introduced to many factors that affect the power output of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. Factors such as the angle of the sun, panel temperature, specific circuit characteristics, and reflected radiation determine the efficiency of solar panels. These four lessons are paired with hands-on activities in which students design, build and test small photovoltaic systems. Students collect their own data, and examine different variables to determine their effects on the efficiency of PV panels to generate electrical power.

Subject:
Engineering
Electronic Technology
Material Type:
Full Course
Instructional Material
Unit of Study
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,
William Surles, Abby Watrous, Jack Baum, Stephen Johnson, Eszter Horyani, Dr. Gregor Henze, Malinda Schaefer Zarske, Denise W. Carlson
Pointing at Maximum Power for PV
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Student teams measure voltage and current in order to determine the power ...

Student teams measure voltage and current in order to determine the power output of a photovoltaic (PV) panel. They vary the resistance in a simple circuit connected to the panel to demonstrate the effects on voltage, current, and power output. After collecting data, they calculate power for each resistance setting, creating a graph of current vs. voltage, and indentifying the maximum power point.

Subject:
Engineering
Electronic Technology
Material Type:
Activities and Labs
Instructional Material
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,
Stephen Johnson, William Surles, Jack Baum, Abby Watrous, Eszter Horanyi, Malinda Schaefer Zarske (This high school curriculum was originally created as a class project by engineering students in a Building Systems Program course at CU-Boulder.)
Powering the U.S.
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This lesson provides students with an overview of the electric power industry ...

This lesson provides students with an overview of the electric power industry in the United States. Students also become familiar with the environmental impacts associated with a variety of energy sources.

Subject:
Engineering
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Activities and Labs
Instructional Material
Lesson Plans
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Frank Burkholder
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,
Janet Yowell
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Racing with the Sun - Creating a Solar Car
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Students use engineering design principles to construct and test a fully solar ...

Students use engineering design principles to construct and test a fully solar powered model car. Several options exist, though we recommend the "Junior Solar Sprint" (JSS) Car Kits that can be purchased with direction from the federal government. Using the JSS kit from Solar World, students are provided with a photovoltaic panel that produces ~3V at ~3W. An optional accessory kit also from Solar World includes wheels, axles and drive gears. A chassis must be built additionally. Balsa wood provides an excellent option though many others are available. The testing of the solar car culminates in a solar race between classmates.

Subject:
Engineering
Material Type:
Activities and Labs
Instructional Material
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Rahmin Sarabi
Roni Prucz
Techtronics Program,
Solar Angles and Tracking Systems
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Students learn about the daily and annual cycles of solar angles used ...

Students learn about the daily and annual cycles of solar angles used in power calculations to maximize photovoltaic power generation. They gain an overview of solar tracking systems that improve PV panel efficiency by following the sun through the sky.

Subject:
Engineering
Electronic Technology
Material Type:
Instructional Material
Lesson Plans
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,
William Surles, Abby Watrous, Eszter Horanyi, Malinda Schaefer Zarske (This high school curriculum was originally created as a class project by engineering students in a Building Systems Program course at CU-Boulder.)
Solar Cell Simulation
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In this activity, learners model the flow of energy from the sun ...

In this activity, learners model the flow of energy from the sun as it enters a photovoltaic cell, moves along a wire and powers a load. The game-like atmosphere engages younger learners and helps them understand the continuous nature of the flow of energy. Note: to do this activity you need access to a large open area outside (e.g., a field or playground).

Subject:
Engineering
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Chemistry
Physics
Material Type:
Activities and Labs
Instructional Material
Lesson Plans
Simulations
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Penny Hall
Susan Schleith
U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Solar Energy
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In this activity (page 11 of PDF), learners compare the air pressure ...

In this activity (page 11 of PDF), learners compare the air pressure within a dark and a light bottle both heated by the sun, and discover that solar energy can be collected and stored in many ways. Although this was created as a post-visit activity for a workshop about photosynthesis, it also makes an excellent stand alone activity.

Subject:
Engineering
Chemistry
Physics
Material Type:
Activities and Labs
Instructional Material
Simulations
Provider:
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
COSI
Solar Power
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In this activity, students learn how engineers use solar energy to heat ...

In this activity, students learn how engineers use solar energy to heat buildings by investigating the thermal storage properties of some common materials: sand, salt, water and shredded paper. Students then evaluate the usefulness of each material as a thermal storage material to be used as the thermal mass in a passive solar building.

Subject:
Engineering
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Activities and Labs
Instructional Material
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Amy Kolenbrander
Janet Yowell
Jessica Todd
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
University of Colorado Boulder,
The Temperature Effect
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Students explore how the efficiency of a solar photovoltaic (PV) panel is ...

Students explore how the efficiency of a solar photovoltaic (PV) panel is affected by the ambient temperature. They learn how engineers predict the power output of a PV panel at different temperatures and examine some real-world engineering applications used to control the temperature of PV panels.

Subject:
Engineering
Electronic Technology
Material Type:
Instructional Material
Lesson Plans
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering NGSS Aligned Resources
Author:
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program,
William Surles, Jack Baum, Abigail Watrous, Stephen Johnson, Eszter Horanyi, Malinda Schaefer Zarske (This high school curriculum was originally created as a class project by engineering students in a Building Systems Program course at CU-Boulder.)
Understanding Electricity with Photovoltaics
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Sixth grade students at Eckstein Middle School use their understanding of electricity ...

Sixth grade students at Eckstein Middle School use their understanding of electricity to explore electrical current in a circuit with photovoltaic cells.Using a lamp to model the sun, students work in teams and connect different power sources in series and parallel circuits to determine the effects on light bulbs or small motors. Discussion between students about the differences in voltage and the flow of electrons from negative to positive terminals provide opportunities for students to explain their learning and for the teacher to assess their understanding.Learning is extended beyond the experiment as students use photovoltaic cells to power equipment and offset electrical load in the classroom.

Subject:
Education
Physics
Material Type:
Lesson Plans
Teaching and Learning Strategies
Provider:
Teaching Channel
Provider Set:
Teaching Channel
Author:
Jessica Levine