Grade Level: 9 (9-11)
Choose From: 5 lessons and 8 activities
Subject Areas: Physical Science, Physics
SummaryWe all know that it takes energy to provide us with the basics of shelter: heating, cooling, lighting, electricity, sanitation and cooking. To create energy-efficient housing that is practical for people to use every day requires combining many smaller systems that each perform a function well, and making smart decisions about the sources of power we use. Through five lessons on the topics of heat transfer, circuits, daylighting, electricity from renewable energy sources, and passive solar design, students learn about the science, math and engineering that go into designing energy-efficient components of smart housing that is environmentally friendly. Through numerous design/build/analyze activities, students create a solar water heater, swamp cooler, thermostat, model houses for testing, model greenhouse, and wind and water turbine prototypes. It is best if students are concurrently taking Algebra 1 in order to complete some of the worksheets.
Engineers are the creative people who are always coming up with ingenious and better ways to provide us with reliable and energy-efficient shelter. Energy-efficiency means performing some task so it uses the least amount of energy possible. Using energy wisely might involve conserving and minimizing the initial energy required to create an engineered product or system, and/or designing its ongoing energy use to be as minimal as possible and/or use renewable energy sources. Engineers design energy-efficient technologies for buildings, homes, transportation, power systems and industry to reduce consumption and expense of our energy resources.
Overview of topics by lesson: 1) heat transfer, especially solar water heaters and swamp coolers, 2) electrical circuits, including designing a thermostat, 3) lighting, especially daylighting and greenhouses, 4) renewable and non-renewable energy sources, especially water and wind power, and 5) passive solar design, especially for heating.
Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science,
technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.
All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN),
a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).
In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics;
within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.
Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.
All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN), a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).
In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.
See individual lessons and activities for standards alignment.
- Day 1: Heat Transfer lesson
- Day 2: Solar Water Heater activity
- Day 3: Swamp Cooler activity
- Day 4: Circuits lesson
- Day 5-6: Designing a Thermostat activity
- Day 7: Design of Lighting Systems: Light It Up! lesson
- Day 8-12: Daylighting Design activity
- Day 13-15: Model Greenhouses activity
- Day 16: Off the Grid lesson
- Day 17-19: Power Your House with Water activity
- Day 20-23: Power Your House with Wind activity
- Day 24: Passive Solar Design lesson
- Day 24-30: Zero-Energy Housing activity
More Curriculum Like This
Students learn how the sun can be used for energy. They learn about passive solar heating, lighting and cooking, and active solar engineering technologies (such as photovoltaic arrays and concentrating mirrors) that generate electricity.
Students are introduced to passive solar design for buildings — an approach that uses the sun's energy and the surrounding climate to provide natural heating and cooling. They learn about some of the disadvantages of conventional heating and cooling and how engineers incorporate passive solar design...
Students learn and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of renewable and non-renewable energy sources. They also learn about our nation's electric power grid and what it means for a residential home to be "off the grid."
Students are introduced to the correct technical vocabulary for lighting, which is different than layperson's terms. They learn about lamp (light bulb) technology and how to identify the various types of lighting in their spaces. They are also introduced to lighting controls as a means for saving en...
Copyright© 2007 by Regents of the University of Colorado
ContributorsSee individual lessons and activities.
Supporting ProgramIntegrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder
This digital library content was developed by the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program under National Science Foundation GK-12 grant no. 0338326, and the Discovery-Learning Apprentice Program at CU-Boulder's College of Engineering and Applied Science. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.
Last modified: January 19, 2021