Showing posts with label Solar Energy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Solar Energy. Show all posts

Friday, August 14, 2015

Build a Solar Oven - A Hands-on Science Lesson

Following up on my previous post about the science of BBQ, here's another cooking-related science lesson. Making a Solar Oven (link opens a PDF) is a nice hands-on learning activity that I found on I think elementary, middle, and high school students could enjoy making a solar oven (link opens a PDF). The Making a Solar Oven PDF includes directions for building your solar oven and tips for cooking in it. You and your students can build a solar oven using materials that are commonly found in schools, homes, and grocery stores.

Applications for Education
Making a solar oven and baking some cookies in it could be a great way to get students excited to learn about solar energy. At the middle school and high school levels you could have students experiment with modifications of the original design to see if they can increase or decrease temperatures and cooking times in their solar ovens.

If you haven't explored it before, take some time to search for teaching resources on On the site you can find videos, interactive activities, and lesson plans for teaching about climates and climate change.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The User's Guide to Energy Explains Energy Production and Consumption

The User's Guide to Energy is a series of six animated videos produced by The Atlantic. The videos cover the basics of getting energy produced from natural gas, oil, and solar to market, how much energy American's consume, and climate change connected to energy consumption. Two of the videos are embedded below.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Turn Your Students into Solar Storm Watchers

Solar Storm Watch is a website on which anyone can become a solar storm watcher. The site uses imagery from STEREO Spacecraft to present users with information that they can use to try to spot solar storms.

Solar Storm Watch provides registered users with training on spotting and tracking solar storms. Once you have completed the training you can move on to contributing your observations to the community. The overall goal of the Solar Storm Watch is to help scientists identify and track solar storms. Watch the video below to learn about some of the questions the scientists hope to answer through the use of the information recorded on Solar Storm Watch.

Applications for Education
Solar Storm Watch offers some lesson plans for teachers who are interested in using the site in their classrooms. Even if you don't use the lesson plans or register on the site, you can still view some excellent interactive graphics that explain parts of the solar system and the role of satellites in monitoring solar activities.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wind and Solar Power Estimation Tools

My post earlier today about using Google Earth to estimate potential solar energy in California reminded me of a similar resource that I discovered a couple of years ago. The following is an updated version of a post from 2009.

SEREF, the Solar Energy Research and Education Foundation, has built a couple of tools that could be of interest to science teachers. SEREF has an energy estimation tool that allows you to estimate the potential solar and wind energy of any location. To use the estimation tool you have to enter your location using on the map and input the size of the solar panels or wind turbine structure. You can also draw out the dimensions of your solar panels on the map. The potential energy is then calculated based on climate, latitude, and typical weather patterns. 

Applications for Education 
The SEREF energy estimator offers teachers and opportunity to create a lesson using science, mathematics, and geography concepts. Students can use the estimation tool to discover the solar and wind energy potential of their location then make and test a hypothesis about other locations. Students can also experiment with the size of solar panels and the angle to the sun to see what the potential change in energy would be.

Estimating Solar Power Using Google Earth

Whenever I introduce Google Earth to teachers, I like to point out that it can be used for far more than just Social Studies lessons. A new KMZ file (link will launch Google Earth) from the University of California - San Diego illustrates that point well.

The California Solar Irradiance Map is a Google Earth file that illustrates how much solar energy could be generated in one year from a horizontally oriented solar panel. The file can be used to see how much energy could be generated from the entire state. The file also includes thousands of individual data points showing how much energy could come from each individual place. Turn on the "placemark data" layer to view individual points.

H/T to the Google Earth Blog.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Home for the Future - Interactive Display

A Home for the Future is a neat interactive display from The New York Times about a solar-powered home. Click on the photo and sound icons on the interactive image to learn about the features and nuances of a solar-powered home.
Click to enlarge
And to learn more about home design, history, and the way people interact with their homes see the Living Rooms section on The New York Times site.

Applications for Education
My school's CAD program now offers a class on "green design." A Home for the Future could be a good resource for those students to learn from. A Home for the Future could also be a neat resource for students in environmental science classes to explore.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:Video - Two Cases of Global Warming
Climate Change, Wildlife, Wildlands Lesson Plans
Infographic World - 12 Interesting Infographics

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Solar Potential - A Math and Science Lesson

RoofRay is a new website that uses Google Maps technology and mathematics to calculate the potential solar energy that could captured on a rooftop. RoofRay users locate a building using Google Maps satellite view then use RoofRay's array drawing tool to highlight a section or all of a roof. After selecting an area users then select RoofRay's estimating tools to calculate the potential solar energy that a roof could capture.

Below is a short video demonstration of RoofRay.

Applications for Education
RoofRay could be a useful tool for Earth Science teachers and Math teachers. Using RoofRay students can explore and estimate the potential solar energy of their school or neighborhood.