After completing this chapter, students will be able to:
- Monitor the capacity of currently operating solar panel installations.
- Be aware of one alternative to fossil fuels for some of our energy needs.
Examination of the data and graphs online can be done in groups. Three or four students can be assigned to a location and a time interval and asked to interpret their resulting graphs. Next, groups can be brought back together for a classroom comparison and discussion, especially if a smaller time interval can explain anomalies in data from a larger time interval at the same location. The data from Parts 2 and 3 can be used, or any data that seems complete and useful. Not all datasets are good examples, as the equipment used to monitor them may have broken and gone un-repaired for days or months, in some cases. The Soltrex site has a summary of all the data for each of its sites at the bottom of the page with its "system details". This provides a useful filter for good data.
The following National Science Education Standards are supported by this chapter:
8FSPSP5.1 Science influences society through its knowledge and world view.
12ASI1.3 Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications.
12EST2.4 Science and technology are pursued for different purposes. Scientific inquiry is driven by the desire to understand the natural world, and technological design is driven by the need to meet human needs and solve human problems. Technology, by its nature, has a more direct effect on society than science because its purpose is to solve human problems, help humans adapt, and fulfill human inspirations. Technological solutions may create new problems. Science, by its nature, answers questions that may or may not directly influence humans. Sometimes scientific advances challenge people's beliefs and practical explanations concerning various aspects of the world.
- 1.1 Earth scientists find solutions to society's needs. Earth scientists work on challenging problems that face humanity on topics such as climate change and human impacts on Earth. Earth scientists successfully predict hazards to humans and locate and recover natural resources, making possible the flourishing of humans on Earth.
- 7.3 Natural resources are limited.Earth's natural resources provide the foundation for all of human society's physical needs. Most are nonrenewable on human time scales, and many will run critically low in the near future.
- 7.10 Earth scientists help society move toward greater sustainability. Renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal, are being developed. They will replace fossil fuels as those become scarcer, more expensive to retrieve from Earth, and undesirable due to environmental damage. Earth scientists foster global cooperation and science-informed stewardship that can help to ensure the availability of resources for future generations.
Day 2 - Look at the other two websites. Look at data from two locations to compare online.
Day 3 - Download data and make Excel graphs. Compare to online graphs.
Day 4 - Discuss electric bill comparison and carbon offsets by non-CO2 polluting power generation.
Any of these can be expanded or omitted except for Day 1 and Day 4 to give a coherent lesson.