Lesson Focus

The lesson begins by making the point that while Wind Turbines often have dead spells when there is no wind blowing, they can often produce energy no matter whether it is day or night. On the other hand, so long as it is daylight, solar panels can produce power regardless of whether the wind is blowing or not.  Furthermore, if a solar array is of the more elaborate type, which includes a battery and a DC/AC inverter, it can produce energy in the dark.  Such installations are of course, more expensive. Students complete hands-on challenges with mini solar cells.


Full Lesson Plan

Age Levels:

8 – 14


Students will:

  • Gain a useful understanding of a relatively new energy technology, which over their lifetimes, will become more prevalent and common.
  • Learn about the importance of discipline and teamwork.

Anticipated Learner Outcomes

Students will become familiar with the construction and application of an energy source which is to be seen on an everyday basis, but which is often taken for granted.

Lesson Activities

  • Connect three mini solar cells in series and/or parallel.
  • Measure the voltage of each cell and the three in combination.
  • Measure the internal resistance of each cell and then of all three in series and/or parallel.
  • See how many LEDs the array can illuminate or if it can power a mini DC motor.

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks

Curriculum alignment sheet is included in PDF.