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TEACHERS TOOLKIT

Subscribe your school to the Solar Schools program and you will get access to a comprehensive set of educational resources, supported by the student knowledge bank for self-directed learning. You will have access to lesson plans and student activities to engage and inspire your classroom. These resources are enhanced by the data from the energy meters installed at your school. The live data collected helps students put theory into practice, empowering them to create solutions for real change.

The complete Solar Schools program is fully aligned to the Australian Curriculum. Here is an overview of the content by year level.

In this unit, students will investigate what plants and animals need to survive and how the environment they live in allows them to meet these needs. Students will learn how sunlight produces energy and how we use it. They will observe what changes occur in the sky, the landscapes and how they affect people and animals. Using digital and design technologies, they will explore the properties of materials and their use to develop products to meet sustainable community needs. Mathematical concepts explored include number and place, number patterns, units of measurement, location and transformation, chance and data.

Key Activities

  • Explore living things and their needs for survival
  • Explore how living things meet their needs in different environments and through seasonal changes
  • Explore how light is produced, reflected and sensed
  • Investigate how light is used by living things to meet their needs
    Investigate the cause of night and day
  • Investigate animals that are nocturnal and how they survive
  • Creating a report on the needs of a chosen living thing, how it meets them and what happens it cannot meet its requirements.

In this unit, students will explore how living things need and use water. Students will examine how to manage water in the environment, and how detrimental too much or too little can be. In particular, they will focus on how to save water at the school and in the community. In the context of water studies, students will have opportunities to utilise digital and design technologies to research and create artefacts of their learning. They will also address mathematical concepts addressed will include shapes, volume, mass, maps, time and data.

Key Activities

  • Discuss and list Earth’s different resources including water
  • Using various art mediums or digital technologies to create a poster about why water is precious to all life on Earth
  • Identify water in its different states (solid, liquid and gas)
  • Make a model of the Water cycle
  • Investigate how having too much or too little water in an environment can cause problems
  • Students will conduct a field walk to investigate water usage within the school and record water sources and issues on a map.
  • Students will use digital technologies to investigate the water losses from a leaking tap

In this unit, students will explore how the Earth’s rotation causes day and night. Students will investigate the Sun as a source of heat and light for the Earth. Students will explore how we harness the Sun’s energy and how it is used and measured. They will complete investigations about the different ways heat is produced, and observe how heat can move through liquids and solid objects through conduction. Students will communicate their understanding using formal and informal representations such as written reports, diagrams and graphs. Students will plan, make predictions, analyse and evaluate investigation and will determine the variables in a fair test.

Key Activities

  • Earth’s rotation causes day and night
  • The Sun as a sustainable source of heat and light for the Earth
  • Sustainable Energy
  • Heat production
  • Conducting and absorbing heat
  • Making a Difference: Solar cooker (Extension)

Throughout this unit, we will introduce students to solar panels and the materials used to develop them. Students will investigate what materials are suitable as solar conductors.

Key Activities

  • Explore natural and processed materials
  • Identify different types of materials and their properties
  • Explore different types of everyday materials
  • Investigate the materials used to make a solar panel
  • Relate properties of materials to the purpose of constructing a solar panel
  • Make decisions about suitable materials to create a solar panel
  • Collect and analyse data on solar panel performance

In this unit, students investigate how light from different sources can form shadows and can be absorbed, reflected and refracted. Students will develop an understanding of testing in simple light experiments. Students will use their knowledge of light and energy to create a greenhouse.

Key Activities

  • Explore light energy
  • Exploring light sources
  • Investigating light shadows
  • Experimenting with shadows
  • Investigate light reflection, refraction and absorption
  • Explore the absorption of solar energy
  • Analyse solar schools data
  • Making a difference: build a greenhouse (Extension)

In this unit, students explore the generation of electrical energy and its transformation into electrical circuits. Students will use school and household consumption data to develop their understanding of energy usage and to develop a personal plan to make a difference.

 

Key Activities

  • Explore energy and energy sources
  • Explore alternative energy sources
  • Investigate electrical energy and circuits
  • Investigate photovoltaic cells and their performance
  • Audit personal and school energy usage and devise a plan to make a difference
  • Analyse solar energy data

In this unit, students explore unbalanced forces and their effect on motion, as well as renewable and non-renewable sources of energy. They will construct a device that uses renewable energy and use their understanding of the forces acting to lift the maximum weight.

Key Activities

  • Explore renewable and non-renewable energy sources
  • Explore the implications of energy sources
  • Make a water wheel or windmill and identify the forces acting
  • Design, construct and test a windmill or water wheel that can lift the most significant possible weight.

In these units, students conduct a research investigation on energy consumption and efficiency in the school context. The study follows scientific methods and skills with mathematical analysis methods using digital technologies to evaluate inputs and outputs in an integrated STEM approach. Students determine the energy efficiency rating of the school then seek ways to improve this rating using research methods, including data collection from online data as well as surveys.

Key Activities

  • Research Question – Identifying possible impacts and effects
  • Background Observations – A preliminary look at data
  • Research prediction – A cause-effect statement
  • Research design – Fair test
    Collecting and collating data – Outcomes
  • Collecting and collating data – Impacts
  • Analysing Background Data -Trends
  • Energy consumption factors – Light use
  • Energy savings – Revisiting prediction – Mathematics or survey options
  • Conclusions – Results, Confidence, Studies and Actions
  • Communication – Presentation to the target audience

In this unit, students explore various forms of energy as potential or kinetic energy. Students will classify energy according to its type and identify different energy transfers and transformations. Students will use their knowledge of solar energy to design and build a solar energy car.

Key Activities

  • Classify examples of energy types
    Identify energy transfers and transformations
  • Investigate energy transformations in solar cells
  • Design, construct and test a solar car

In this unit, students explore methods of energy transfer as heat. They will conduct a range of investigations to develop their understanding of heat energy transfer. They will use this knowledge to design and construct a solar hot water system to perform to given criteria.

Key Activities

  • Demonstrating energy transfer as heat
  • Explore methods of heat transfer by conduction, convection and radiation
  • Explain heating using particle models
    Design and construct a solar hot water system

In this unit, students explore the conservation of energy. Students will use real-time solar energy data to develop their understanding of energy transformations. Students will conduct investigations and conclude utilising this knowledge. They will make Links to current energy usage and consequences of this in the world.

Key Activities

  • Explore the Law of Conservation of Energy
  • Investigate and construct a Rube Goldberg machine
  • Investigate the performance of photovoltaic cells
  • Compare solar data across regions
  • Analysing solar energy data – Mathematics

In this unit, students explore global systems and the causes and effects of the greenhouse effect. Students describe how human activity is leading to increased production of greenhouse gases leading to increases in average global temperature. They will use this knowledge to formulate a personal plan to make a difference.

Key Activities

  • Investigate water and nitrogen
  • Investigate the carbon cycle
  • Explore the greenhouse gas problem
  • Global warming and climate change – is it real?
  • Investigating the impacts of human activity on global systems
  • Investigate personal carbon footprint
  • Investigate ways to implement change to make a difference
  • Analyse greenhouse gas data

Subject Areas

Physics (Australian Curriculum 2018; QCAA v1.1 2019).
General Mathematics (Australian Curriculum 2018; QCAA v1.1 2019; QCAA 2008)
Science in Practice (QCAA – 2015)

Resources in this section are for both Years 11 and 12 in three subject areas. The activities are as follows:

  • Physics – Years 11 and 12  have one activity that can be covered in either year level depending on course organisation, allowing for combined year level classes. This activity is suitable for a research investigation task.
  • General Mathematics – Year 11 has an independent activity that covers univariate data analysis. This activity is suitable for guided learning, as an extension or as a basis for an assessment instrument.
  • General Mathematics – Year 12 has an independent activity that covers bivariate data analysis. This activity is suitable for guided learning, as an extension or as a basis for an assessment instrument.
  • Science in Practice – Years 11 and 12 have one activity that can be covered in either year level depending on course organisation, allowing for combined year level classes. This activity is suitable as a teaching/learning guide or as a research investigation.

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