Activity Introduction

gen-y-renewables-king-photoframeQuick summary: Students explore the role of energy efficiency through solar power to change climate change. Students begin by participating in a brainstorm around solar power in order to activate their prior knowledge on this issue. They then complete a THINK PAIR SHARE thinking routine to clarify key terms around solar power and climate change before moving on to analyse a case study about Adelaide’s solar airport. They will then continue to work in groups to find other solar case studies from around Australia and the world. Finally students will work in groups to assess potential sites for solar projects in their community, and make recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of their community based on their assessments.

genyes_logo_180px_v2The Generation Yes project engages and represents the generation who are saying ‘YES’: yes we can work together to change climate change! This project seeks to help all Australians be part of creating a compelling, optimistic and solutions-focused future for our country.



Learning intentions:

  • Students will understand will understand how solar panels work and the risks and benefits of how they can help us produce cleaner electricity.
  • Students will understand how to analyse a case study and present their findings to the class.
  • Students will identify opportunities for improving the energy efficiency of their community, and will be able to critically assess these suggestions.


21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 8 Science

  • Solutions to contemporary issues that are found using science and technology, may impact on other areas of society and may involve ethical considerations (ACSHE135)

Syllabus outcomes: SC4-11PW.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, Literacy.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1, OI.6, OI.8.

Relevant parts of Year 8 Science achievement standards: Students explain how scientists generate solutions to contemporary problems, and reflect on the implications of these solutions for different groups in society.

Topic: Climate change, Generation Yes.

Unit of work: Generation Yes.

Time required: 120 minutes.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee discussions, lead students in case study analysis and project development.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. CASE STUDY – Adelaide’s Solar Airport. Presentation Rubric – Year 8. How does solar power work? Factsheet.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: Generation Yes, climate change, net zero emissions, deep decarbonisation, solar install, solar panels, energy efficiency.

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


Teacher Worksheet

gen-y-solar-airport-photoframeTeacher preparation

Learning intentions: Students will understand how solar panels work and the risks and benefits of how they can help us produce cleaner electricity.

Success criteria: Students will:

  • Be able to analyse a case study.
  • Be able to develop and critique ideas for their own projects.
  • Be able to communicate ideas to the class.
  • Know how solar panels work.
  • Know that energy efficiency can help us achieve zero net emissions.
  • Know that projects aimed at energy efficiency can help us address climate change.


Teacher content information: In 2015, leaders from around the world came together to discuss our climate future. This was the 21st meeting of this kind, and it was the one that finally resulted in an agreement. The message was clear: we must and will transition to a net zero emissions future.


The international community has committed to holding global warming well below 2°C, with some suggesting we setting our sights on a maximum of 1.5°C. Limiting global

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Why do we need the sun?

Solar Power

Spend a few minutes working independently to complete column A on the table below.

Question/Activity Column A Column B
1. What does it mean to be energy efficient?

2. Why is it important to be energy efficient, especially in the context of climate change?

3. What is solar power? 
4. How does solar power help us to reduce emissions?
5. Pick one other word relevant to solar power suggested in the brainstorm and research the definition. Write this in your own words.

Once complete, team up with a classmate to share your ideas. Add any changes you want to make to column B.

Adelaide's Solar Airport - Case Study

In your groups you will need to read through this case study: CASE STUDY - Adelaide's Solar Airport. You can also watch the clip below:

Adelaide airport say Yes to solar (

Each group needs to read through the case study and work tog

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