Whether you are working, studying, or being entertained, much of our daily routines rely on being plugged-in. You probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about where all that power comes from, but someone has to! Figuring out the best ways to produce energy is a big job that is growing along with the world's population. Energy can also be a hot topic with argements about whether to invest in fossil fuels or clean renewable energies like solar, wind, water and geothermal. Take a first-hand look at some of the problems and challenges scientists and engineers are tackling as they look at making and storing energy.

Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-8th
Coming up with new ideas is hard! How do engineers design new things or improve existing ones? Engineers and inventors use different brainstorming techniques to help them think outside the box and come up with new ideas. In this lesson plan, your students will practice brainstorming with a method called SCAMPER. Read more
Lesson Plan Grade: 5th-8th
Help your students learn about solar energy, physical forces, and other science topics with this hands-on engineering experience. This lesson plan will show you how to get your classroom started building solar-powered cars that your students can enter, if desired, in regional Junior Solar Sprint competitions. No previous experience with electronics or building things is necessary. Get the dates and location for your regional competition here. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 3-5-ETS1-3. Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
  • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
Lesson Plan Grade: 4th-8th
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… Read more
NGSS 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.
Lesson Plan Grade: 4th-8th
How can technology and the internet help us solve some of the world's most pressing problems? Your students might not be ready to tackle global poverty or world peace, but they can start small by identifying a social problem in their local community. In this lesson plan they will design a solution to a problem of their choice that uses technology. It could be anything from a GPS-enabled dog collar to track lost pets, to an app that notifies local food banks when people have extra fruits and… Read more
NGSS 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.
  • 3-5-ETS1-2. Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  • 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.
  • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
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Free science fair projects.