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Energize Ohio

Ohio State University Extension


Fun in the Sun: Exploring the Power of Solar Energy

Access to sources of clean, abundant, reliable energy influences all of us each and every day, as well as the communities, organizations, and individuals we serve as educators. It is essential that our youth understand energy systems and the basics of how energy influences our quality of life as individuals.  By training the next generation of employees to be STEM literate workers, through solar education, we increase the likelihood that solar energy will be used and introduced across Ohio1.  

In 2017 OSU Extension partnered with Ohio Sea Grant to develop a Solar Technology Curriculum.  The curriculum offers teachers a blended approach to instruction; Nearpod presentations utilize a highly engaging content delivery application, allowing students to interact directly with background knowledge and lessons while providing real-time formative assessment. The lessons are written using a structured or guided inquiry approach which can easily be adapted to meet the needs of higher- or lower-level learners. Students have the opportunity to design investigations, analyze and interpret data, and communicate understanding through the use of models.

Click the links below to review and download the materials and incorporate solar energy education into your classroom, 4-H camp, and/or after school program!  


Solar Technology Curriculum (2017)


Understanding the Mechanics of Solar TechnologyStudents investigate the factors that influence the speed and pattern of movement in simple solar toys. After hypothesizing the internal mechanism that moves the toy, students dissect the toy to further examine its inner workings and determine the types of energy transformations that occur. 

Using Models to Investigate Solar Thermal Technology - Students learn about and build models of solar thermal tubes to determine the optimal design for the greatest heat transfer. 

Building a Solar Photovoltaic Array by Exploring Series and Parallel Circuits - Students build and investigate different arrangements of series and parallel circuits to determine the optimal design for the greatest energy production. 

Using Real-Time Data to Relate Solar Energy Production to the Sun’s Location - Students measure and use the angles at which the sun’s rays strike Earth’s surface to design a PV solar arrangement that maximizes electrical energy production. Using the results of the investigation and a thorough analysis of real-time data from various PV solar panels at Stone Laboratory, students present plans for arrangement and use of PV solar technology systems to maximize energy production in various location throughout a year. 

Additional Resources - Using a Multimeter and Solar Technology Vocabulary


1  Educated and Equipped: Motivating Today’s Youth to Become Tomorrow’s Clean Energy Leaders. (2014, May 30)