This hands-on project teaches students about electricity, circuits, and solar energy.
It then applies that knowledge to build a basic solar-powered circuit to power lights and a fan for a model house that the students design and build.
Students can use their art skills when building the model house.
This project shows students how easy it is to generate renewable energy from solar panels.
You will need to purchase and/or borrow the materials required for each electrical circuit and for the model houses.
Students may need more background information about electrical circuits and the differences between series and parallel circuits.
You could have the students work in pairs or in groups of three or four, depending on the availability of the resources required for the project.
Students could learn about passive solar design and apply it to their model house, utilizing the orientation of the house and windows to the sun and determining roof overhang length to shade the windows during certain times of the year. Students could also consider latitudes for solar gain in winter, choice of building materials, and the possibility of solar tubes.
This resource provides instructions on how to connect batteries or solar panels in series or in parallel to lights or fans and how to construct a simple solar-powered model house from a cardboard box. The materials and steps are somewhat complex, but the instructions are very clear and the steps are broken down in an approachable format. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ETS1: Engineering Design
MS-ETS1-4 Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
HS-PS3-3 Design, build, and refine a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.