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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Passive Solar Design for Homes

Lesson Description:
In this unit students will learn about using the right type of materials in a home that conserves energy and the importance of building orientation and window sizing. Students will engage in an activity to measure temperature changes in several thermal storage samples. By the end of the unit, students will appreciate the need to plan construction with proper materials. Students will learn that simple measures, such as landscaping and installing thermal storage, make a big difference in energy consumption.
Lesson Type:
  • Experiment

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy

GEF Program Category:
  • Green Energy Challenge

Time Needed:
10 minutes 15 minutes 45 minutes activity 1 – teacher introduction activity 2 – assessment of current student knowledge activity 3 – reading passage and vocabulary homework assignment – sentences with vocabulary science reading vocabulary language arts 30 minutes 60 minutes activity 4 – pre-lab activity 5 – lab science 30 minutes activity 6 – post-lab science 30 minutes activity 7 – assessment science
Materials Needed:
  • copy of the Reading Passage and Student Data Sheets (includes reading comprehension questions, vocabulary and Lab Activity) for each student
  • copy of the Assessment Questions for each student
  • graph paper
  • an equipment kit for each group containing the following items:
    • 200 ml each of optional materials to rest, such as water, packed sand, shredded paper, powdered cement, mortar, plaster, rock, etc, (students will measure each into a separate beaker) 
    • 3 small thermometers (non-mercury recommended)
    • 1 lab thermometer (non-mercury recommended)
    • 3 beakers to hold test materials
    • 1 liter of ice water OR
    • 1 liter of hot water at 85oC  approximate, (hot from tap) 
    • container to hold beakers (cake pans work well)
    • goggles
    • gloves 

School or Group:
Contact Email:
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf No13 96-821B.pdf

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