Title
Grade Level
Type
Time
Materials
Summary and Activity Goals
K – 8
Introduction
5 – 10 min
None
Open the class by assessing student knowledge and generating curiosity about solar and renewable energy. This can be a whole group discussion, or modified to groups or pairs, at the teacher’s or your discretion.
K – 8
Introduction or Presentation
10 – 15 min
Printed photos
Students gain a basic understanding of the ways we generate electricity.
6 – 8
Introduction
5 – 10 min
None
Share some quick facts about solar energy to get students interested.
K – 8
Presentation
15 – 20 min
Handout
Following a simple visual diagram/coloring page, students gain a basic understanding of how a PV solar system works. You may tailor the level of detail to the students’ level.
K – 2
Group Game
5 – 10 min
None
Students physically model how photons “excite” electrons inside a solar cell to create an electric current.
K – 2
Individual or Group Activity
10 – 20 min
Coloring pages, pens, pencils, markers
Students complete coloring activities to gain a basic understanding of solar energy.
3 – 5
Group Game
5 – 10 min
None
Students play a game to actively model how photons travel through a solar electric system.
3 – 5
Individual Activity
10 – 15 min
Sticky notes
Students independently think about how to creatively implement or invent a renewable energy technology.
3 – 8
Individual or Group Activity
15 – 20 min
Markers, colored pencils, or crayons. Large pieces of paper.
Students apply what they have learned about solar and other forms of renewable energy to imagine a 100 percent renewable home, school, city, or world. Students will think about the forms of renewable energy discussed in class, and have a chance to think creatively about ways to apply current technology or invent new ones!
6 – 8
Presentation
10 min
Printed or projected graphs
Students see how solar production varies depending on season and time of day.

Opening Questions (Grades K-3)

The following is an example of how one might lead young students into a discussion about solar energy. Consult with the teacher to make sure your approach is appropriate for students’ levels.

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