Grade Range
4th-8th
Group Size
2-4 students
Active Time
2 hours
Total Time
2 hours
Area of Science
Energy & Power
Key Concepts
Solar power, electricity
Learning Objectives
  • Use problem-solving skills to figure out the electrical power consumption of different devices
  • Design a solar power system for the electrical devices in a mobile classroom
Drawing of students in a shipping container that has been converted to a solar-powered mobile classroom.

Overview

Would it be possible to power everything in your classroom using clean, renewable solar power? Inspired by Global Problem Solvers: The Series, in this lesson plan, your students will research and design a solar power system for a mobile classroom that can be used after natural disasters or in remote areas without permanent schools.

This lesson is one of three independent lesson plans inspired by Global Problem Solvers: The Series. You can read more about the series and the lesson plans available from Science Buddies here.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • 3-5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
  • MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
3rd–5th grade
Asking Questions and Defining Problems. Define a simple design problem that can be solved through the development of an object, tool, process, or system and includes several criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.


6th–8th grade
Asking Questions and Defining Problems. Define a design problem that can be solved through the development of an object, tool, process or system and includes multiple criteria and constraints, including scientific knowledge that may limit possible solutions.
3rd–5th grade
ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems. Possible solutions to a problem are limited by available materials and resources (constraints). The success of a designed solution is determined by considering the desired features of a solution (criteria). Different proposals for solutions can be compared on the basis of how well each one meets the specified criteria for success or how well each takes the constraints into account.


6th–8th grade
ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems. The more precisely a design task's criteria and constraints can be defined, the more likely it is that the designed solution will be successful. Specification of constraints includes consideration of scientific principles and other relevant knowledge that are likely to limit possible solutions.
3rd–5th grade
Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society and the Natural World.
Engineers improve existing technologies or develop new ones to increase their benefits, decrease known risks, and meet societal demands.


6th–8th grade
Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society and the Natural World.
The uses of technologies and limitations on their use are driven by individual or societal needs, desires, and values; by the findings of scientific research; and by differences in such factors as climate, natural resources, and economic conditions.

Credits

Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
Developed in partnership with Global Problem Solvers: The Series   sponsor logo Cisco Global Problem Solvers

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Grade Range
4th-8th
Group Size
2-4 students
Active Time
2 hours
Total Time
2 hours
Area of Science
Energy & Power
Key Concepts
Solar power, electricity
Learning Objectives
  • Use problem-solving skills to figure out the electrical power consumption of different devices
  • Design a solar power system for the electrical devices in a mobile classroom