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Solar Heat

Elementary, Middle

Description

This resource consists of a two-part lesson, a student backgrounder that introduces learners to solar heat for cooking and instructions for building and testing their own solar ovens. All the information for students, including facts and model plans, are available on the Re-energy website for download. Links to other sources for student research are also listed on the site.

 

The backgrounder provides:

  • information on solar heat and ways of capturing it
  • pictures of solar heat capturing devices
  • four questions that get students thinking beyond the information

The lesson provides:

  • a general description
  • learning objectives
  • a materials list for each period
  • teaching procedures for period one – familiarization with information and building the solar oven
  • teaching procedures for period two – testing the solar ovens
  • a student worksheet

The detailed construction plans include:

  • more background information on the Sun’s energy
  • safety precautions
  • tools and materials list (check these out well before you start)
  • reflector templates
  • step-by-step instructions with illustrations
  • instructions for testing the oven

General Assessment

Strengths

  • The lesson is thoroughly described and plans for the model are included.
  • The needed materials are inexpensive and easy to access.
  • Students can create the model with minimal adult help and supervision.

Weaknesses

  • The supplies list is extensive and will take time to assemble.

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Safe use of tools.
  • How to work with templates.
  • How to attach panels with duct tape.
  • How to test and prepare a solar oven for use.

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Themes Addressed

  • Energy (3)

    • Alternative Energy
    • Energy Generation
    • Energy Use

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good
  • Pembina clearly states their philosophy on sustainable energy.
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:

Satisfactory- absence of bias towards any one point of view

Good- students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed

Very good- based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good
  • Multiple applications of solar heating solutions are introduced.
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  •  Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Very Good
  • Students are exploring a possible solution instead of a problem. Complexity within the solution are presented for learner consideration.
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected

Acting on Learning Very Good
  • Students are acting as research scientists to create and investigate current technology.
  • There are multiple extension activities included with the lesson.
Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  •  Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Satisfactory
  • The questions asked of the students provide some opportunity for personal reflection.
Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered
  • This is not an aspect of the lesson.
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Very Good
  • Being out-of-doors is necessary to test the oven.
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  •  Satisfactory:   connection is made to the natural world
  • Good:  fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good:  fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Very Good
  • This is a concrete lesson in which students are creating and testing a model.
Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Very Good
  • The lesson reviews current solar heating technology with applications for the future.
  • The idea that  the sun sustains life on Earth provides a connection to the past.
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Satisfactory
  • The lesson uses a combination of structured and guided inquiry.
  • Extension ideas and links that are provided encourage looking at the solution from a broader perspective.
Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good
  • The resource provides opportunities for learning in a number of traditional subject areas.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  •  Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Poor/Not considered
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  •  Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Very Good
  • The activity will appeal to a range of learning styles, strengths and groups.
Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  •  Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Very Good
  • The model making is completely experiential.
  • Being in, and using, the sun will help build connections to the out-of-doors.
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made concrete. Working with real objects,  using real sources of information
  • Good: learning takes place in a real-world context. Simulation, mentorship
  • Very good: learning provides experience beyond the classroom.  Addressing real world issues and problems 
Cooperative Learning Very Good
  • Students work in groups to complete the questions and build the model.
Cooperative Learning: Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
  • Satisfactory = students work in groups
  • Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good
  • Concluding questions are provided with sample answers.
Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Good
  • Opportunity for shared learning occurs during the experiment and discussion time.
Peer Teaching: Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
  • Satisfactory = incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good = an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Poor/Not considered
  • Although different ways of harnessing the sun’s heat are presented, case studies are not a component of the resource.
Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory
  • The lesson is teacher directed with the exception of the actual experimentation.
Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.