Investigating Renewable Energy

Energy ecoSTEM Kit Materials Used: Sky-Z Wind Turbines, Solar Cells, and Multimeters

ENGAGE - Students Observe This Phenomenon

GATHER

GATHER Energy Investigations

REASON

REASON Renewable Energy Investigation

EXPLORE a Kit-Supported Learning Experience

Students will design and build functional devices that are powered by renewable energy sources and measure output with multimeters. Then change a variable (such as blade shape, length, angle or number on a windmill; or angle on a solar cell) and use common household supplies (such as manila folders) to build a more effective model that increases output.

EVALUATE

Students should be able to explain that most power is generated by burning fossil fuels and creating steam to spin a turbine, which generates electricity. Solar power or photovoltaic energy is an exception, but most forms of renewable energy and nuclear power are all – at heart – just different ways to boil water to make steam to turn a turbine.

ELABORATE

Students may use the Sky-Z wind turbine kits to design and test blades of different sizes, shapes and numbers. Manila folders make good materials for crafting blades.

This film on Fossil Fuels will explain these limited resources and the Switch Project, with questions for interrupted viewing, addresses the transition to renewable energy.

EXTEND

Students may use the Handprinter app and the Drawdown web page to investigate the impact of fossil fuels on emissions, air quality, and climate; and explore alternatives and solutions ranging from individual actions to systemic change.

COMMUNICATE

Revised EXPLANATION

After making sense of a core idea by engaging in science or engineering practices through the lens of crosscutting concepts, students revise their original explanations of a phenomenon.

EMPOWERMENT

Students may propose a schoolwide project to mitigate the impact of fossil fuel use or encourage use of renewable energy.