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Zero-Energy Housing
http://www.teachengineering.com/view_activity.php?url=http://www.teachengineering.org/collection/cub_/activities/cub_housing/cub_housing_lesson05_activity1.xml

Jonathan MacNeil, Malinda Schaefer Zarske, Denise W. Carlson, TeachEngineering by the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program

Students investigate passive solar building design with a focus on heating. Insulation, window placement, thermal mass, surface colors, and site orientation are addressed in the background materials and design preparation. Students test their projects for thermal gains and losses during a simulated day and night then compare designs with other teams for suggestions for improvements.

Activity takes multiple (six to seven) 50-minute class periods. Additional materials are necessary.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

A combination of strategies is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The most immediate strategy is conservation of oil, gas, and coal, which we rely on as fuels for most of our transportation, heating, cooling, agriculture, and electricity. Short-term strategies involve switching from carbon-intensive to renewable energy sources, which also requires building new infrastructure for alternative energy sources. Long-term strategies involve innovative research and a fundamental change in the way humans use energy.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPe
Actions taken by individuals, communities, states, and countries all influence climate. Practices and policies followed in homes, schools, businesses, and governments can affect climate. Climate-related decisions made by one generation can provide opportunities as well as limit the range of possibilities open to the next generation. Steps toward reducing the impact of climate change may influence the present generation by providing other benefits such as improved public health infrastructure and sustainable built environments.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPg
Sunlight reaching the Earth can heat the land, ocean, and atmosphere. Some of that sunlight is reflected back to space by the surface, clouds, or ice. Much of the sunlight that reaches Earth is absorbed and warms the planet.
About Teaching Principle 1
Other materials addressing 1a

Energy Literacy

Humans transfer and transform energy from the environment into forms useful for human endeavors.
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4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.
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Various sources of energy are used to power human activities .
One way to manage energy resources is through conservation.
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6.2 Conserving energy.
Behavior and design affect the amount of energy used by human society.
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6.6 Behavior and design.
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Human use of energy.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:B) Designing investigations
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B) Designing investigations.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
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C) Collecting information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:D) Technology
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D) Technology.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Light and other electromagnetic waves can warm objects. How much an object's temperature increases depends on how intense the light striking its surface is, how long the light shines on the object, and how much of the light is absorbed.
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Energy from the sun (and the wind and water energy derived from it) is available indefinitely. Because the transfer of energy from these resources is weak and variable, systems are needed to collect and concentrate the energy.
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When selecting fuels, it is important to consider the relative advantages and disadvantages of each fuel.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark
Decisions to slow the depletion of energy resources can be made at many levels, from personal to national, and they always involve trade-offs involving economic costs and social values.
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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Students may use materials they find instead of purchasing listed materials.
  • Hardware stores will likely provide the necessary materials for free when used in an educational environment.

About the Science

  • Comments from expert scientist: The resource integrates engineering and math concepts, together with a broad sustainability-oriented introduction, in a hands-on activity.
  • Activity shows three examples of model homes that were built for solar efficiency (cliff homes, caves, and mound homes) and shows set-up for clarity.
  • Activity addresses engineering, mathematics, and solar energy science concepts.
  • Excellent background material provided.

About the Pedagogy

  • Open-ended inquiry based activity that uses teamwork, class discussions and a hands-on project that will address diverse learning styles.
  • Opportunity for creative and divergent thinking students to excel.
  • Appropriate for kinesthetic learners.
  • Worksheets and data sheet are excellent.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Large amount of materials must be gathered ahead of time, but options for substituting items abound.

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