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Science Education

June 20, 2014
Rain Machine (Solar Still)

Working in groups, students build simple solar stills filled with salt water and observe what happens when the stills are placed in the sun. The students then taste the water they have collected and discuss what has happened in their stills.

June 20, 2014
Photovoltaics and Solar Energy (2 Activities)

This module addresses issues dealing with the energy from the sun, the energy needs of students in the classroom and, ultimately, our energy needs as a nation. Students will use a photovoltaic (PV) cell to measure the energy from the sun. Using a light bulb with a known wattage, the students will illuminate the bulb using a PV cell. This way the students will know the approximate energy coming from the PV cell.

June 20, 2014
Utilizing Photovoltaic Cells and Systems (9 Activities)

These nine projects allow students to set up their own investigations and manipulate the variables that influence photovoltaic cells. The projects can be easily integrated into a normal science classroom curriculum, or can be completed by students individually for science fair projects. All of the projects will fit easily into classroom lessons surrounding scientific inquiry and the scientific method. They will also help illustrate concepts in electricity, light and color, velocity and gravity, chemistry and polarity, and could even lead to social studies or social action projects.

June 19, 2014
Mini Rockets

Groups of students produce hydrogen and oxygen gas. Using pipette mini rockets, students investigate which mixture of the two gases makes the best rocket fuel.

June 19, 2014
Making a Solar Oven

Students make solar ovens. Student background information is provided. The expected outcome is that students will learn about solar energy transfer.

June 19, 2014
Modeling the Process of Mining Silicon Through a Single Displacement/Redox Reaction

As the popularity of photovoltaic (PV) cells and integrated circuits (IC) increases, the need for silicon also increases. Silicon is one of the most used materials in these two industries. It is an inexpensive and abundant semiconductor. However, the process of producing pure silicon adds cost, and it is generally unknown to the public. One of the first steps in producing silicon is a process called carbon-thermic reduction. Silicon dioxide (SiO2) that is found in beach sand and quartz is melted down in a caldron at a temperature of 1450 degrees Celsius.

June 19, 2014
Electrolysis of Water

Students observe the electrolysis of water using either photovoltaics or a battery as the electric energy source.

June 19, 2014
Ocean Power (4 Activities)

Areas of the country that have an available coastline but are limited in other renewable resources can use the oceans to produce energy. We are familiar with the large hydroelectric dams that dot our nation, creating large reservoirs and flooding millions of acres of land. By turning to the restless seas we can find a source of energy that is not affected by clouds and the scarcity of wind. By using ocean power we can increase our need for power without having to deplete our existing non-renewable resources.

June 19, 2014
Solar Cell Simulation

Students model the flow of energy from the sun as it enters a photovoltaic cell, moves along a wire and powers a load. The game-like atmosphere involves the younger students and helps them understand the continuous nature of the flow of energy. For a related lesson, please see the activity “Solar Powered System” (PDF 430 KB).

June 19, 2014
Geothermal Energy (5 Activities)

Geothermal energy is one of the components of the National Energy Policy: “Reliable, Affordable, and Environmentally Sound Energy for America’s Future.” This lesson includes five activities that will give your students information on the principles of heat transfer and the technology of using geothermal energy to generate electricity.