Activity Introduction

Quick summary: After thinking about a range of solar related questions, students design experiments to find out some principles about using solar energy. NB the experiments will works best on a sunny day.

Learning goals for this activity include:

  • Design experiments and collect data about solar energy.
  • Communicate effectively in fair and considered class-wide discussion on issues.
  • Demonstrate the ability to read, evaluate and interpret information about the issues.
  • Communicate lessons from activity through art or literacy exercises (extension).

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 7 Science

  • Collaboratively and individually plan and conduct a range of investigation types, including fieldwork and experiments, ensuring safety and ethical guidelines are followed (ACSIS125)
  • Summarise data, from students’ own investigations and secondary sources, and use scientific understanding to identify relationships and draw conclusions (ACSIS130)

Year 8 Science

  • Collaboratively and individually plan and conduct a range of investigation types, including fieldwork and experiments, ensuring safety and ethical guidelines are followed (ACSIS140)
  • Summarise data, from students’ own investigations and secondary sources, and use scientific understanding to identify relationships and draw conclusions (ACSIS145) 

Syllabus Outcomes: SC4-5WS, SC4-6WS, SC4-7WS

Topic: Energy

Year levels: 7 and 8

Indoor or outdoor activity: Indoor/outdoor

Time required: 90 mins

Learning areas addressed: English, Science, Geography

Level of teacher scaffolding: Provide students with materials and opportunities to design experiments. Reinforce safe behavior while students are involved in experiments. Lead students in class discussion around solar energy.

Resources required: Provide students with materials and opportunities to design experiments. Internet access, art and writing materials.

Safety: Students should not walk around with glass thermometers.

Homework and extension opportunities: This activity has opportunities for homework or extension.

Keywords: solar, energy, electricity, investigation.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation

Experiments and investigations

Small groups of students will design an experiment to answer a question related to solar energy. Many experiments will require some sunshine and will need to be conducted outdoors. Your school may have solar kits students can use. One suggestion is to compare temperatures of the interior of cars compared with outside. While this may sound a bit of a nuisance, it’s an appropriate point to bring in the danger of leaving small children in cars.

These are some of the questions students can investigate, design experiments and collect data.

Examples of solar experiments
• What colour can absorbs the most heat from the sun?
• Does an open container or a close container of water remain warmer?
• How does light affect the amount of power generated by a small solar cell?
• What is the difference in temperature between the inside and outside of a car? Does the colour of the car or the area of windows affect the temperature?
• Does the direction o

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Student Worksheet

In your group, design an experiment to answer a question related to solar energy. 

Here are some examples of solar questions that you could design your experiment around.
• What color can absorbs the most heat from the sun?
• Does an open container or a close container of water remain warmer?
• How does light affect the amount of power generated by a small solar cell?
• What is the difference in temperature between the inside and outside of a car? Does the colour of the car or the area of windows affect the temperature? 
• Does the direction of the sun affect individual rooms in the school differently?
• Can you make a simple hot water solar panel? 
• What angle and direction will a solar panel collect the electricity at your school at this time of year? 
• How you make a solar cooler (fridge) by placing wet material around a can? How does evaporating water cool things?

Procedure:

1.    Write the question that will be investigated
2.    Design an experiment that will help to answer the quest

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