Environmental Literacy and Inquiry Working Group, Lehigh University
1 or 2 90-minute lab periods, depending on students' familiarity with building circuits. Solar Energy Kits: Wires/ photovoltaic cells/ light bulbs/ music box/ fan / etc.Discuss this Resource»
Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
Middle school (agree); also appropriate for high school (would add)
4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.
4.5 Electricity generation.
Various sources of energy are used to power human activities .
2.2 Sources of energy on Earth.
Physical processes on Earth are the result of energy flow .
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Students should have previous experience wiring circuits and be familiar with the differences between series and parallel circuits before completing this activity.
- Could be used in technical schools that focus on engineering or could be used informal education.
About the Science
- This lesson is from a 6-week instructional sequence on energy resources. The entire sequence can be found here: http://www.ei.lehigh.edu/eli/energy/sequence/index.html.
- Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.
About the Pedagogy
- Students investigate solar energy with a combination of watching video clips and building their own photovoltaic cell to power several small appliances.
- Assessment requires a log in, so is protected against students going online to look up answers.
- Does not offer a lot of inquiry, as it is 'cookbook style.'
Technical Details/Ease of Use
- Photovoltaic Cells video clip seemed to end early as if the entire clip wasn't loaded all the way.
- Pictures of wiring in instructor and student handouts may help students who have not had much experience with creating different types of circuits.
- Lab kits must be purchased (wires/ photovoltaic cells/ light bulbs/ music box/ fan / etc.), which may be a major limitation for some schools.
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