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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Solar Cars

Lesson Description:
Students are probably aware that energy sources and their impact on the environment are important issues.  To cut down on our dependency on fossil fuels, scientists have turned to renewable sources of energy.  Solar energy has long been lauded as the possible solution to the energy and pollution crisis.

In this project, students investigate the amount of pollution produced by cars and how solar energy might alleviate this problem.  By creating their own car, students will investigate how solar energy can be used, and learn about some of the challenges involved with building solar powered cars.

This project incorporates elements of the scientific method.
Lesson Type:
  • Project

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy

GEF Program Category:
  • Green Energy Challenge

Time Needed:
Up to one semester
Standards Addressed:

North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Excellence in Environmental Education:

  • Guidelines for learning:
  • Strand 1-questioning and analysis skills (guidelines a, c, e, f, g) -strand 2.1-the earth as a physical system (c)
  • Strand 2.3-humans and their societies (a, c, d, e)
  • Strand 2.4-environment and society (a, c, d, e)
  • Strand 3.1-skills for analyzing and investigating environmental issues (a, b, c)
  • Strand 3.2-decision-making and citizenship skills (a, b)
  • Strand 4-personal and civic responsibility (b)

Technology Foundation Standards for Students:

  • Guidelines for learning:
  • Standard 1: basic operations and concepts
  • Standard 2: social, ethical, and human issues
  • Standard 3: technology productivity tools
  • Standard 4: technology communications tools
  • Standard 5: technology research tools
  • Standard 6: technology problem-solving and decision-making tools

Materials Needed:
  • Access to the internet on at least one computer (optional)
  • What's up in the environment video (optional)
  • Excel (optional)
  • Powerpoint (optional)
  • Solar car panel and engine (see web sites below for cheap sources of kits)
  • Other household items to make a model car

School or Group:
Thirteen Ed
Contact Email:
Located in: Science

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Center for Green Schools