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Division 3
Division 4
About the resource
Division 1
Division 2
Division 3
Division 4

Shining a Light on Solar Energy: Division 3 (Grades 7-9) Lessons

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Lesson Summary

What are the main components of a school solar PV system?

Create a “three-star” illustration of a solar PV system.

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In this lesson, students learn about the main components of a solar PV system and their most important functions. To begin the lesson, students rate the effectiveness of an illustration of a solar PV system. Next, students review a description of a solar PV systems and identify the functions of the main components. Students use this information to suggest how an inaccurate illustration of a solar PV system might be improved. To conclude the lesson, students use the information about the solar PV system, their suggested improvements, and the criteria to create a “three-star” illustration of the main components of a solar PV system.

How does a solar PV system create electricity from sunlight?

Create a storyboard to effectively explain how a solar PV system changes energy from the sun into electricity.

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In this lesson, students learn how a solar PV system changes energy from the sun into electricity. To begin the lesson, students are introduced to storyboards as a tool for understanding a series of events in a complex scientific process or experiment. After developing the criteria for an effective storyboard, students identify the most important information in brief written descriptions of how a solar PV system changes energy from the sun into electricity. To conclude the lesson, students use this information and the criteria to create a six-panel storyboard to explain how a solar PV system changes energy from the sun into electricity.

What are the most important differences between an optimized and non-optimized solar PV system?

Rework the design of a building to optimize its use of solar energy.

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In this lesson, students expand their understanding of solar-generated electricity by exploring the design principles behind solar-optimized rooftop solar PV systems. To begin the lesson, students examine a draft plan for a home solar PV system. Students suggest what problems or issues might prevent the system from being optimized. After co-developing the criteria to assess the efficiency of PV systems, students examine images of buildings with rooftop solar PV systems. Students use the criteria to identify features that will affect efficiency of the PV systems. To conclude the lesson, students suggest changes that could be made to a building to optimize its use of solar energy.

What important advice about energy efficiency might our homes give?

Create an interview with a home to describe actions and behaviours that can improve household energy efficiency.

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In this lesson, students explore actions and behaviours that can improve the energy efficiency of a home. To begin the lesson, students identify factors that might increase or decrease the energy efficiency of a home featured in an image. Students then use their observations to co-create the criteria for an energy-efficient home. Students use this criteria to identify actions that might improve the energy efficiency of a home described in an interview. To conclude the lesson, students create an interview with their homes to describe the important advice their homes might give about improving energy efficiency.

What evidence best supports the reasons?

Identify evidence and reasons that effectively support the use of school solar PV systems.

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In this lesson, students explore reasons and evidence that support the use of school solar PV systems. To begin the lesson, students develop an understanding of arguments, conclusions, reasons, and evidence by assessing an argument used by a teen to convince parents. Students then use this understanding to identify evidence from school solar PV monitoring sites and other sources that support the use of school solar PV systems. Students use criteria to assess the quality of their evidence. To conclude the lesson, students identify the most convincing arguments, reasons, and evidence in support of school solar PV systems.

Which method of generating electricity would be best for our community?

Create a visual representation of the most significant advantages and challenges of various methods of generating electricity.

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In this lesson, students evaluate the advantages and challenges of various methods of electrical energy generation. To begin, students practice using a circular graph to create a visual profile of the attributes of a season. Students then rate aspects of various methods of generating electricity. Using these ratings, students create visual profiles of each method of generating electricity. To conclude the lesson, students suggest which method of electricity generation would be best for their community.

Funded by Government of Alberta

This project was funded by the Community Environment Action Grant program.