Activity Introduction

solarQuick summary: This lesson is designed for a flipped classroom, where students learn new content by watching a video in their own time. This strategy provides the opportunity for students to build their knowledge, attitudes and values by themselves, thereby freeing up class time for hands-on work.

Learning goals:

  • Students understand some of the challenges associated with creating solar energy.
  • Students build their thinking and questioning skills.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Year 7 Science

  • Some of Earth’s resources are renewable, but others are non-renewable (ACSSU116)

Year 8 Science

  • Energy appears in different forms including movement (kinetic energy), heat and potential energy, and causes change within systems (ACSSU155)
  • Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to a range of contemporary issues; these solutions may impact on other areas of society and involve ethical considerations (ACSHE135)

Year 9 Science

  • People can use scientific knowledge to evaluate whether they should accept claims, explanations or predictions (ACSHE160)

Year 10 Geography

  • The human-induced environmental changes that challenge sustainability (ACHGK070)

Syllabus OutcomesGE5-2, GE5-3SC4-11PW, SC5-13ES, SC4-12ES, SC4-10PW.

Time needed: 20 minutes.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – allow students to explore the topic independently.

Resources required: Internet, laptops and earphones, Student Worksheet.

Key words: Solar, energy, power, electricity, renewable, solar tower, solar panels.


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


Teacher Worksheet

Sunset Solar Panels-hero©WWFTeacher Preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students take responsibility for their own learning by watching a video on solar energy and completing a thinking routine.

Extra resources:

The Flipped Lesson

This lesson provides the opportunity for students to explore/build their current knowledge, attitudes and values about solar energy. While working independently, students are to view the video and answer the questions on the student worksheet. Teachers will also gain insight from students’ responses which can be used to plan follow-up lessons from the energy units.

This visual thinking tools can be useful in examining how and why student thinking has changed based on learning specific content information. It also helps to develop their reasoning abilities and to recognise cause and effect relationships.


Why aren't we only using solar power? - Alexandros George Charalambides (


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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: Did you know that Australia has the highest average solar radiation per square meter of any continent in the world?

Before watching the video:



What influences the amount of solar energy that can be produced?


Watch the video and then answer the questions below:

Why aren't we only using solar power? - Alexandros George Charalambides (

After watching the video:



How do clouds affect solar energy production?

Which is the most effective way of producing solar energy - solar panels or towers? Explain.


Reflection question

Do you think solar energy is the answer to future energy supplies? Why or why not? 

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