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Solar Energy
http://www.ei.lehigh.edu/eli/energy/sequence/day5.html

Environmental Literacy and Inquiry Working Group, Lehigh University

This activity comes at the beginning of a sequence of activities in an energy module. Students observe the transfer of solar energy to different appliances with a solar cell and then they investigate the effect of using different solar sources to supply energy to appliances.

Activity takes about one to two 90-minute lab periods, depending on students' familiarity with building circuits.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 6 Cross Cutting Concepts, 8 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 2 Performance Expectations, 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 6 Cross Cutting Concepts, 8 Science and Engineering Practices

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 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.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Very good information presented and mostly in a way that won't get out-dated. Strong connection to basic scientific principles. Good hands-on activity for science classes.

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.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:


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