Columbus A new set of lessons from Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab introduces students in grades 7-12 to the basics of solar energy via hands-on activities. The free curriculum is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and Ohio’s Model Science Curriculum, and is available to download at go.osu.edu/teachers.
The lessons in the Solar Technology Curriculum are structured similarly to Ohio Sea Grant’s Great Lakes Climate Change Curriculum, including teacher sections, student activities and links to background materials. The seven lessons cover a general introduction to solar energy, how solar electric and solar thermal energy is produced, how electric circuits can influence that energy output, and how the sun’s location can affect how much sunlight is converted to usable power.
“It has been a great experience developing these lessons with educators, scientists, energy experts and communicators working together as the Solar Technology Curriculum Consortium,” said Dr. Kristen Fussell, Ohio Sea Grant’s assistant director for administration and research. “It was the perfect blend of educators making sure the lessons were inquiry-based and met science standards and scientists checking every detail for scientific accuracy. We are all really excited to share these lessons and hope that educators and students find them as interesting as we do.”
Stone Lab had already taken advantage of its solar energy set-up in developing educational opportunities for guests who come to Gibraltar Island. Panels from the Climate Expedition field trip activity explain how solar panels work and how solar energy can help reduce the impacts of climate change and save the lab money.
The solar photovoltaic panels for electricity production and solar thermal tubes to provide the Dining Hall with hot water provide data on power production to a website at go.osu.edu/SLsolar, and staff wanted to make sure that freely available data was used more widely, so creating classroom activities for educators was a logical next step.
Curriculum development was funded by an OSU CARES (Community Access to Resources and Educational Services) grant from The Ohio State University Extension. More information about the program is available at osucares.osu.edu.
Located on the 6.5-acre Gibraltar Island in Put-in-Bay harbor, Stone Laboratory is Ohio State’s Island Campus on Lake Erie and the research, education, and outreach facility of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program. The Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant College Program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 33 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For information on Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu.