Activity Introduction

solar photoframe 2Quick 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 how solar panels convert solar energy to electrical energy.
  • Students recognise that there are both physical and political/social barriers to widening our use of solar energy.
  • Students build their thinking and questioning skills.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.8.

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Year 7 Science

  • Some of Earth’s resources are renewable, including water that cycles through the environment, but others are non-renewable (ACSSU116)

Syllabus Outcomes: SC4-12ES.

Time needed: 30 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, solar technology, electrical energy.

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


Teacher Worksheet

solar photoframe 1Teacher Preparation

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

The Flipped Lesson

This lesson provides the opportunity for students to explore/build their current knowledge, attitudes and values about the technologies involved with harnessing and converting solar energy into electrical energy, and the physical, social and political barriers to expanding our use of solar energy. While working independently, students are to view the following video and complete tables on the student worksheet. Teachers will also gain insight from students’ responses which can be used to plan other activities.

The visible thinking tools included on the Student Worksheet can be useful in examining and reflecting on 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 relationshi

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Who owns the sunshine?

1. List two things you already know about solar energy:



Watch the following clip and answer the questions below:

How do solar panels work? (

1. What did you find the most interesting or surprising about this video?

2. What would you like to know more about?

3. What are the major physical challenges to moving 100% of our energy to solar cells and modules? Describe two:



5. What do you think might be one of the major social and political challenges to using more solar energy?

6. What three points raised in this clip would you use to persuade someone that we can move to more solar energy?




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