This activity allows students the opportunity to explore different methods for collecting solar energy and using that energy for heating, creating electricity and applying that energy to an industrial process. Experimenting with different types of materials will also allow them to understand how the properties of different materials can drastically affect the outcome of their experiment. Students will be creating a parabolic trough that will heat one pound of water, to a temperature as high as possible without damaging the water storage container.
Time Required: ten 45 minute periods
-Students should be able to discuss what factors enhance or hinder their attempts at gathering the suns energy.
1.PowerPoint presentation on Laws of Thermodynamics and passive solar
2.Handout on solar energy
3.Divide students into groups of two to four. Alternative: Sometimes it works better to wait until they have their individual design ideas before you divide them into groups. Hand out the design brief. Have students put their name on the front cover and all the names of the members of their team on the instructor test data sheet. Assign due dates and have the students fill in the appropriate spaces. Carefully go through the requirements, specifications and restrictions. Students do not write on the grading rubric on the last page (teacher does). Make sure that everyone understands that deviating from or misinterpreting these requirements will affect their final grade.
1.PowerPoint on the different methods for collecting solar energy. Active vs. Passive Solar Thermal vs. Solar Electric (PV) How does a solar cell work?
2.Students should then begin to answer the research questions in Part 1.
3.Students can begin working on their individual designs for Part 2.
4.Students should come to the next class with the first page of Part 2 completed. (Design 1 & 2)
1.Students meet in their groups to discuss the final design. Each student should bring two unique designs to the table. Alternative: Now divide them into groups of 2 - 4
2.Once the team has decided on a final design each member must add this to their design brief.
1.Each student will then begin writing construction steps and safety procedures for Part 3. Each student will create their own steps and the team will decide which ones will be combined to use for the construction of the final structure.
2.The team should pick the instruction that they wish to use and justify.
3. Team members begin organizing materials and tools to begin constructing their device in the next class.
DAY FIVE - EIGHT
1.Teams begin the construction phase, completing their design brief as appropriate.
2.Teams begin testing their structure and making changes as necessary. Parts 5 & 6.
3.Teams prepare for final testing.
1.Teams meet before first hour to setup their device.
2.One member takes readings each hour for eight hours. 8:00-3:00 (The student must get the record sheet from the instructor each hour). (If the school has electronic data recorders, the students can program them to take readings automatically.)
3.Teams collect their device after the last class of the day and record instructor’s results.
4.During class time students should be completing unfinished sections of the design brief.
5.Design brief is due next class period. Each team will prepare 3-5 minute presentations on their device and the results of their testing.
1.Teams present their device and results (If still testing, initial results and predicted results).
2.Students turn in the design briefs.
1. Intro to Photovoltaic Solar Cells
a. Harvesting the suns energy to create electricity and heat
2. Video on how a solar cell works
a. Bohrs Model
b. Doping: The Critical Role of Impurities
c. P-N Junctions
3. Types of Solar PV Panels
a. Silicon Wafers
b. Thin Film Technology
c. III-V Solar Concentrators
d. Future Technologies
i. Dye Sensitized
iii. Quantum Dots
1.Estimating Solar Systems
2. Solar Installations
a. Grid-tied vs. off-grid systems
3. Hybrid Systems
a. Solar & Wind
b. Solar, Wind and Hydrogen
c. Solar & Biodiesel
i. Biodiesel processor powered by PV
ii. Proceed to lesson on biodiesel and use on site PV/Biodiesel facility as example. Students operate biodiesel facility to produce large quantities of ASTM grade biodiesel
Assessment sheets can be found on pages 18-20 of the attached lesson plan.
Lab materials are listed on page 4 of the attached lesson plan. Handouts and observation sheets can be found on pages 10-17 of the attached lesson plan.
Source:US Department of Energy
Resource Type:Lesson Plan
Subject(s):Science, Technology and Skilled Trades, Environmental Science,
Topic:Energy Generation, Renewable Energy,
Grade: 9 10 11 12
Web Pages Used
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