Lesson/Activity: Solar Sources – Turn the Sunshine on this Earth Day!

Solar Panel

More solar energy hits the earth in one day than can be used in 27 years, which means we use less than one percent of the sun’s power. Solar panels are being used more often in American homes and businesses. Solar energy is clean power that does not pollute the environment.

LESSON SEQUENCE:

ASSIGNMENT:

  • Option One: Have students read the selection “Power Producers” from the Science Middle School Physical Science text and Renewable Energy Sources unit, and Solar and Wind Energy Concept. Have them complete the activity listed on page two.
  • Option Two: Have students write a list of questions that they have about solar energy. Have them work together in teams to research to find the answers to those questions and share their findings with the class.
  • Option Three: Neighborhood Hunt — have students look around their homes and neighborhood for solar panels. If they are able, have them take photos of the panels. From the photos, have them determine the company that makes the panels and how much power it may provide for the home or business. Have them research to determine whether the homeowner or business owner is saving money using the panels and, if so, how much it might be.
  • Option Four: Have students find out about local businesses that sell solar panels. Have them research the benefits, costs, and tax deductions, and share their findings with the class.

WANT MORE?

  • Learning about Natural Resources: Reduce, reuse, and recycle are meaningless words to students who do not have a clear understanding of the importance of natural resources. In this engaging program, students learn about the three types of natural resources: inexhaustible, renewable, and nonrenewable. The Earth’s wide variety of natural resources will be explored as well as how we use each of them in our daily lives. Classroom resources include a teacher’s guide.
  • Solar Power: This video segment shows a demonstration of a solar panel changing light energy into electrical energy. In the video segment, the solar panel is covered and a drop in voltage is observed. (1:02)
  • US Department of Energy’s website for kids: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/kids/
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